American Hellenic Institute

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AHI Urges European Union To Ensure Turkish Compliance With Accession Conditions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
April 12, 2000 No. 22/2000 (202) 785-8430

AHI Urges European Union To Ensure Turkish Compliance With Accession Conditions

On April 12, 2000 the American Hellenic Institute sent a letter to Dr. Guenter Burghardt,Head of the European Commission Delegation to the United States, commending the decision of the European Council at its Helsinki meeting on December 10-11, 1999 European Council to attach strict conditions to its offer of candidate status to Turkey. The letter, which was copied at the Ambassadors of the European Union (EU) member states in Washington, states that the decision sends the right signal to Turkey that it must undertake substantial reform with regard to its international relations and its domestic structures before it can expect to start accession negotiations. The EU's firm approach establishes an appropriate framework for resolving some of the region's most long-standing problems.

The letter urges the EU to resist pressure, including from the U.S., to relax the conditions. AHI believes that it would be a mistake to do this and would be against the interests of the EU, the U.S. and Turkey. The proper course is for the EU governments to insist on full implementation of the conditions.

Discussing potential financial incentives to Turkey, the letter describes the timing of disbursement schedule as of the greatest importance. AHI's position is that Turkey's specific undertakings at Helsinki--the Aegean, Cyprus, human rights--are not part of the restructuring process but could and should be immediately implemented by Turkey. The abolition of torture as a national policy, the release of political prisoners and the cessation of violence against the Kurds and the guarantee of their human rights, for example, cannot be regarded as restructuring matters.

The letter sets out AHI's view that no funds should be disbursed until Turkey complies with these undertakings. At the very least, the EU should strictly monitor the application of any loans to ensure that they are used for the purposes intended and that specifically Turkey is making genuine and good faith efforts to solve its disputes with Greece, to take action to solve the Cyprus problem and to change its policy of systematic denial of human rights to its people.

The full text of the letter together with its enclosures may be found on AHI's website.