A Turkish government plan intended to pave the way for membership of the European Union does not meet the bloc's democratic standards, France's European affairs minister said in an interview published Tuesday, April 10.
"Turkey must enact reforms and restructure its democratic institutions to meet European standards," Pierre Moscovici said in the interview in the daily Milliyet . "The plan drawn up by Turkey is not very different from its current structures on that count," he said.
Turkey was made a candidate for EU membership in December 1999, but was told it had to improve its record on human rights and democracy before it could open formal membership negotiations.
The calendar of economic and political reforms it unveiled on March 19 was intended to open the way to the membership talks.
The plan fell short of key EU demands in the political field such as the expansion of Kurdish cultural freedoms, abolition of the death penalty and the curbing of the political role of the military.
Moscovici bluntly told Turkey that it is up to it to meet European standards and not vice-versa. "Membership depends solely on Turkey's will. Turkey must realize that the EU is not only a community of nations but a society model," he said.
Moscovici also defended the French decision to recognize the killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide, saying that he was personally convinced that the term was appropriate to describe the massacres. But he said that the French stance should not poison relations with Turkey. — (AFP, Ankara)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)