Turkey a 'reform kitchen', says EU minister

Today's Turkey is much more democratic than in the past, but there are still issues to be addressed, says Turkey's EU Minister Egemen Bagis.

Turkey a 'reform kitchen', says EU minister

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's determination and and its pace of reforms are faster than any other EU governments', said Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis.

Receiving president of Freedom House, a US based think tank, David J. Kramer in the Turkish capital, Ankara on Wednesday, Bagis said Turkey is a "reform kitchen". 

"We try to bring Turkey's standards up to the EU levels. A lot has been achieved in the last ten years," he said. "We may not be perfect. Turkey still has issues like freedom, human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience but there are no other perfect countries. Every country has issues and they are also trying to work on their issues  like Turkey does."

Noting  that some 20 years ago people could not even declare their ethnic identities in Turkey, Bagis said, "We have 24 hours of Kurdish broadcasting on state TV...politicians can campaign in the language of their choice, people can defend themselves in courtrooms in any language they prefer... Today's Turkey is much better than that of the past."

Turkey is much more democratic, he said giving examples from ethnic communities in Turkey and their rights. 

"After a gap of 112 years Armenian citizens of Turkey can use their historical Akdamar Church for prayer purposes. The Greek-Orthodox community have used Sumela Monastery for the first time after 88 years. The people of Roma origin are enjoying their houses built by the Turkish  government for them."

Meanwhile Kramer said his delegation and himself visited Turkey to do a special report on the state of freedom of expression and freedom of press.

Last Mod: 13 Kasım 2013, 14:27
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