EU urges Turkey to restore judiciary independence

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EU Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle has called on Turkey to restore the independence of its judiciary, if Ankara wants to make progress towards EU accession.

Fule’s comments came on Monday, as Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu is in Luxembourg to continue accession negotiations with the Commission.

“I expressed serious concerns about the adopted legislation which can have an adverse impact on the independence of the judiciary, separation of powers and on freedom of expression including internet. The massive reassignments and dismissals in the police, the judiciary and the civil service over the last few months are also a matter of serious concern.” said EU Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle.

Brussels recently criticised Turkey after Ankara adopted new laws, reassigned judges and imposed internet bans following a government corruption scandal that involved the Prime Minister’s inner circle.

Ankara on the other hand urged the Commission to reopen all negotiation chapters and to finalise a free trade deal between the EU and Turkey.

“Unfortunately 17 chapters are blocked on political grounds. All remaining chapters should be open without further delay. In the meeting we also discussed issues related with custom union. Turkey has obligations concerning the custom union to align its trade policy with the EU. In this context we have to conclude deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU trading partners.” said Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu.

The EU opened accession talks with Turkey in October 2005, but a number of stumbling blocks are holding up progress, in particular Turkey’s relations with Cyprus.

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