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AHI Welcomes European Union's Decision Not To Open Accession Negotiations With Turkey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
October 23, 2000 No. 53/00 (202) 785-8430

AHI Welcomes European Union's Decision Not To Open Accession Negotiations With Turkey

On October 20, 2000 the European Union's Commissioner for Enlargement Günther Verheugen informed Turkey that the EU would not open accession negotiations with Turkey in 2001. Explaining the decision, Dr. Verheugen stated that Turkey had failed to improve its record on human and minority rights and had not made progress toward a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Dr. Verheugen went on to say that he could not foresee the EU opening negotiations with Turkey unless, in his own words, "it was a different Turkey."

AHI welcomes this decision. At its December 1999 meeting in Helsinki the EU accepted Turkey as a candidate for accession but stated that negotiations would not start until Turkey had made progress on three issues: resolution of its territorial claims against Greece, progress toward a Cyprus settlement and improvement of Turkey's human rights record.

AHI hopes that Turkey will fulfill these conditions and become an EU member. To date, however, Turkey's compliance has been slow or non-existent. Writing in the November/ December issue of Foreign Affairs former French Ambassador to Turkey Eric Rouleau states: "in the ten months since the historic Helsinki decision, Ankara has made no move to reform its institutions." Until Turkey changes this approach and makes quantifiable progress toward compliance, AHI believes that the EU is right not to commence accession negotiations.

Further information about Turkey's compliance record may be found in the quarterly AHI reports "Turkey's Compliance with EU Accession Conditions." The latest update of September 30, 2000 is available on the AHI website (click here--58k pdf file).