GeriGündem EU urges Turkey to launch a comprehensive constitution reform
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EU urges Turkey to launch a comprehensive constitution reform

EU urges Turkey to launch a comprehensive constitution reform
refid:9905666 ilişkili resim dosyası

The European Union urged Turkey on Monday to overhaul its constitution to break out of a cycle of annual political crises and move forward its disputed EU membership bid.

"Now is the time for Turkey to update its constitution to reflect the country and society it has become and to consolidate rights and freedoms for its citizens," Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said after a regular political dialogue with the EU's biggest and most challenging candidate country.  

"These reforms are necessary not only for Turkey's EU prospects but essentially for Turkey to break the cycle of its -- I dare to say -- annual political crises," he said.

Rehn said Ankara should take advantage of the end of the latest crisis, when the constitutional court last month rejected a public prosecutor's effort to ban the ruling party, to pursue reforms with renewed vigour.

But Turkish analysts say that seems unlikely because of continuing political tensions, an economic slowdown and local elections next year.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Ankara was pressing ahead with an ambitious reform program to achieve its goal of full EU membership, but EU support was also necessary to complete the process.

French Secretary of State for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet, who chaired the talks after Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner left Brussels early, pledged that Paris would conduct the negotiations impartially despite President Nicolas Sarkozy's strong opposition to eventual Turkish membership.

Jouyet said France expected to open more chapters -- or policy areas -- for negotiation during its six months in the EU chair, which run until the end of December. Rehn said the chapters on free movement of capital and on information society and media policy were ripe for opening soon.

But Babacan referred pointedly to two areas on which France has blocked negotiations.

"Turkey is also ready, for example, to open the chapters on economic and monetary policy and on culture and education, but there are some political considerations in play that are preventing that," he said.

He also said Turkey was ready to negotiate on energy policy, a key area for cooperation with the EU, which is seeking to diversify its energy sources away from dependence on Russia.

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