In response to the EU’s disappointing progress report on Turkey, the Turkish government has written its own assessment of its progress on the road to aligning its legislation and regulations with EU codes over the past year.
EU Affairs Minister, Egeman Bagis, has accused the European Commission of bias, bigotry and a lack of objectivity in its latest report. Mr Bagis stated that, “This report has not only been drawn up in protest of the EU’s progress report for Turkey, but also with a view to expressing our country’s determination in carrying out [EU] reforms.”
Turkey has managed to have good relations with the EU Commission, Parliament and other EU groups despite refusing to work with Greek Cyprus (which state, the Turks do not recognise) who have held EU presidency for the past six months, he said.
The minister, who described the report as Turkey’s challenge to those who, having a biased attitude towards Turkey, exploit both EU values and Turkey’s membership process, noted that the European Council has authorized the EU Commission to engage in talks for visa liberalization with Turkey.
Mr Bagis noted that in the area of “Judiciary and Fundamental Rights” and “Justice, Freedom and Security”, reforms were being implemented. He added that the arrest rate was down by 23.5% as of December this year following the judicial reform package and other reforms compared to 49.2% in 2006.
Following these reforms, nearly 33,500 people were released from prisons. The workload of the Court of Appeals decreased by one third in 2011 compared to the previous year, while the number of verdicts in cases before the Council of State had increased by a third, the report noted.
In October, the EU released its 2012 progress report containing criticisms and concerns about the length of pre-trial detention, the independence of the judiciary and minority rights.