Amnesty Writes to EU States Condemning Torture in Turkey
Amnesty International said Tuesday it had written to the heads of the 15 states in the European Union before their summit in Nice, voicing concern at the "still widespread" use of torture in Turkey, a candidate for EU membership.
In a statement issued Tuesday in Ankara, the human rights organization urged the Turkish government to take immediate action to stop torture.
It claimed that human rights campaigners in Turkey were "subjected to pressure and harassment which inhibits their work".
Amnesty also urged the Turkish government to "ensure that all defendants are tried before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal".
And it demanded an end to what it claimed was the impunity enjoyed by officers in the security services, whom it accused of serious human rights violations.
Amnesty's statement follows an agreement by EU ministers on Monday to a partnership with Turkey preparing for its eventual entry into the European Union.
This lists political and economic reforms which the country must undertake to be included.
There are a total of 13 candidate countries on the list to become EU members, but Turkey, which will take part in the Nice summit from December 7 to 10, is last in line.
It was granted special candidate status at the December 1999 Helsinki summit on condition it meet EU criteria on democracy and human rights, but human rights campaigners say it has so far failed to do so – LONDON (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)