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Turkish entry to EU dependent on commitment to human rights - Sinn Féin

1 September, 2005


Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has said that she would welcome Turkish entry into the EU, but only when 'they have fulfilled the 'Copenhagen Criteria' on democracy and respect for human rights'.

Ms McDonald made her comments as Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern is due to attend talks with other EU Ministers regarding the final stage of EU accession talks with Turkey.

Speaking today Ms McDonald:

"Sinn Féin looks forward to a time when Turkey can enter the EU as a full and equal member. Turkish membership can only enhance cultural diversity within the EU. However, Turkey has an appalling human rights record, it continues to militarily occupy Cyprus and has denied the Kurdish people their right to self-determination.

"Sinn Féin believes that entry into the EU must be subject to their adherence to the 'Copenhagen Criteria' on democracy and respect for human rights. And let's not kid ourselves. This will require a massive leap on the part of the Turkish political and legal establishments to deliver the necessary convincing and durable change in conditions.

"Sinn Féin is also concerned with much of the xenophobic reaction to Turkey's possible entry into the EU. There has been irresponsible scaremongering about an influx of immigrants from Turkey into EU states after their accession. I would emphasise that Marrti Ahtisaari, former Finnish President and head of an independent commission investigating Turkish membership to the EU, has said that fears of an influx of immigrants to the EU are 'vastly exaggerated'.

"I would also remind people that these same concerns were raised before and during the recent accession process with respect to Eastern European migration, and there is no indication that anything of the sort occurred. In addition, in the aftermath of the EU Constitution referendum in France, the issue of Turkey was held up as one of the stumbling blocks to a French 'Yes'. The Turkish people should not be made the scapegoats for EU failures. It is also my belief that the Turkish people should have the final say on whether or not they wish to join the EU.

"Sinn Féin remains to be convinced that Turkey are up to the challenge of promoting a fully inclusive and human rights compliant society. "ENDS

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