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C 280 E/162 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 3.10.

2000

(2000/C 280 E/184) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0028/00

by Nelly Maes (Verts/ALE) and Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) to the Council

(20 January 2000)

Subject: Human rights in Turkey

The world has become no more peaceful in the post-Cold War period. Despite the appearance of new
actors on the scene, states are still responsible for the great majority of instances of torture. The Medical
Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture in London has for a number of years been taking care of
victims of torture and (military) violence.

By far the largest group of patients of the Foundation are from Turkish Kurdistan. The Foundation’s
Alex Sklan described Turkey in De Morgen of Friday, 24 December 1999 as a ‘torture state’. ‘Torture is
endemic, routine, inherent in the enforcement of so-called law and order’.

1. Is the Council aware of the activities of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture in
London with regard to the victims of torture and violence? If not, will the Council seek full information on
the Foundation given its importance in the light of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the
enlargement of the European Union? If it is aware of trhe Foundation’s activities, can the Council confirm
the statement by Mr Sklan that ‘By far the largest group of patients of the Medical Foundation for the Care
of Victims of Torture are from Turkish Kurdistan’?

2. Does the Council feel that the term ‘torture state’ used by Mr Sklan is applicable to Turkey? If not,
does the Council belief that a member of a body specialising in victims of torture and (military) violence is
wrong to apply the term ‘torture state’ to Turkey? If so, how does the Council explain the statement by
Mr Sklan that: By far the largest group of patients of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of
Torture are from Turkish Kurdistan?

3. Does the Council endorse Mr Sklan’s view that ‘Torture is endemic, routine, inherent in the
enforcement of so-called law and order’ in Turkey’? If not, why not, and how can the Council’s position
be reconciled with the fact that, as Mr Sklan says: ‘By far the largest group of patients of the Medical
Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture are from Turkish Kurdistan’?

Reply

(28 March 2000)

The Council welcomes all the efforts in Member States contributing to the situation of victims of torture
and violence, including those mentioned by the Honourable Members. It is not aware of the statements on
Turkey by Mr Sklan, referred to by the Honourable Members. The Council is not in the habit of evaluating
the work of non-governmental organisations, but considers that this falls within the competence of
national authorities.

The Council continues to be concerned about the situation of human rights in Turkey. In the spirit of the
European Parliament’s request made to the Council in the context of the EP’s assent to implement the final
phase of the Customs Union, the Council continues to closely monitor human rights and democratic
developments in Turkey.

Furthermore, the Council believes that the decisions taken by the Helsinki European Council will
encourage Turkey to take further steps in the field of human rights and democracy. The Helsinki European
Council decided that Turkey is a candidate State destined to join the Union on the basis of the same
criteria as applied to the other candidate States. Compliance with the Copenhagen political criteria is a
prerequisite for the opening of any accession negotiations. The Council underlines that stability of
institutions guaranteeing human rights and respect for and protection of minorities is one of the
Copenhagen political criteria.
3.10.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 280 E/163

According to the Helsinki European Council conclusions, building on the existing European strategy,
Turkey, like other candidate States, will benefit from a pre-accession strategy to stimulate and support its
reforms. This will include enhanced political dialogue, with emphasis on progressing towards fulfilling the
political criteria for accession with particular reference inter alia to the issue of human rights. In practice,
in all the political dialogue meetings with the Turkish authorities at the level of Foreign Ministers and
Political Directors the Council addresses human rights issues.

(2000/C 280 E/185) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0030/00


by Marianne Eriksson (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(19 January 2000)

Subject: Monitoring of the referendum in Western Sahara

For more than seven years, the Sahrawi people have been waiting for news from the Moroccan authorities
about a referendum on the future of Western Sahara. The Moroccan authorities have more than once
broken agreements they had with Polisario regarding the date of the referendum. However, registration of
those entitled to vote has now resumed, and a referendum campaign is being planned that is expected to
be concluded on 31 July 2000, which is also the date on which the referendum is scheduled to take place.
The risk of electoral fraud is great, and an international team of monitors needs to be sent in order to
ensure that the referendum takes place in a democratic manner. Will the Commission assist in monitoring
the referendum on the future of Western Sahara?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(14 February 2000)

The Commission is keeping track of developments in the implementation of the plan adopted by the UN
Security Council for the settlement of the Western Sahara conflict. The UN Secretary-General’s efforts to
find a just, equitable and lasting solution for the Western Sahara have its full support. It is therefore ready
to provide assistance at every stage of the planned settlement. On the specific issue of the referendum, the
Commission is aware that its organisation is threatened by problems with the finalisation of the electoral
lists. As the UN Security Council pointed out in resolution 1282/99 of 14 December 1999, these problems
‘... seem to allow little possibility of holding the referendum before 2002 or even beyond’.

(2000/C 280 E/186) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0031/00


by Anna Karamanou (PSE) to the Council

(20 January 2000)

Subject: Nuclear threat of Akkuyu

Further to previous questions and ahead of Turkey’s final decision on the construction of a nuclear plant in
the earthquake-prone region of Akkuyu, Canadian Federal MPs opposed to Canada’s intention to supply
Turkey with nuclear reactors have made public the following further reasons for their position:

 the financial burden on Canada of a 1,5 billion dollar loan to Turkey,

 the possibility of Akkuyu developing into a second Chernobyl which will pose a serious threat to the
lives of 144 million people in the eastern Mediterranean,

 the fundamental fear of providing Turkey with the means of manufacturing nuclear weapons through
related technology, as occurred with India and Pakistan.