24 May, 2007
European Parliament vice-president Rodi Kratsa on Wednesday referred to the ongoing political crisis in Turkey in a verbal question addressed to European Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn, with the former citing a Turkish constitutional court decision to annul a first round of presidential elections and a subsequent warning issued by the country's military to the Erdogan government.
Kratsa pointed out that Rehn has stated in the past that Turkey's armed forces have an obligation to respect the independent role of democratic procedures, while asking whether a further reaction is expected by the Commission in case developments incompatible with EU democratic principles take place.
The Commissioner responded that, in principle, the Turkish government has observed and implemented the constitutional court decision, adding that the European Commission expects the election of a new Turkish president to take place after a new assembly plenum is derived from early elections in July.
On the role of the military establishment in Turkey, Rehn reiterated that it should be restricted to the country's defence, which is its main role.
He added that the European Commission has repeatedly told Ankara that the EU is founded on the principles of democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law and the supremacy of democracy over the military authority, stressing that a country should meet all these conditions to become an EU member. "This was a clear message to the Turkish government and has reached the Turkish people as well, through the mass media," he added.
Responding to a relative question by Euro-deputy Costas Hatzigakis, Rehn stated that the EU accession negotiations with Turkey should continue contrary to reactions from nationalist quarters in Turkey.
Source: Athens News Agency