PARIS - Anatolia News Agency
A group of European politicians have urged their French colleagues to live up to commitments made to Turkey regarding the country's European Union membership bid, warning that an opposing attitude would risk loss of trust in the EU.
The Independent Commission of Turkey, a European group of former heads of state and government, held a press conference on Wednesday in Paris regarding the report, "Turkey in Europe: Breaking the Vicious Circle," which analyzes key developments in EU-Turkey relations and puts forward concrete steps necessary to revive negotiations.
"Negative remarks by European politicians and the growing hesitation on enlargement is discouraging Turkish voters and politicians to achieve the EU goal," the commission warned.
The commission also urged the Turkish government to speed up European Union-inspired reforms, which were criticized for "slowing down."
"We have not brought up the question on when Turkey would become an EU member. Turkey should become a member whenever it is ready. What we ask for is that Turkey receives equal treatment as all other candidate countries," said Martti Ahtisaari, former Finnish president and a member of the commission.
Role for peace, stability
Former French President Michel Rocard also said Europe should support Turkey, which had been improving peace and stability with its neighbors. "We should stand up for Turkey. This is important for both Europe and the region."
Established in 2004, the Independent Commission on Turkey examines the challenges and opportunities presented by Turkey's possible membership in the European Union.
The commission is made up of former heads of state and government, foreign ministers and European commissioners, and other Europeans who have previously held high positions in public office.
The nine Commission members are: Martti Ahtisaari; Kurt Biedenkopf; Emma Bonino; Hans van den Broek; Bronislaw Geremek; Anthony Giddens; Marcelino Oreja Aguirre; Michel Rocard; and Albert Rohan. The Commission is supported by the British Council and the Open Society Foundation in Turkey.