World Bulletin / News Desk
The European Union has praised Turkey's humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in the much anticipated 2015 progress report.
Released just days after Turkey’s snap elections on Nov.1, the EU said in the report: "Turkey made huge and continuous efforts to shelter Syrian refugees".
Faced with the worst migrant crisis since World War II, the EU is in the process of negotiating with Turkey on a refugee action plan, under which the 28-nation bloc has offered Turkey funds to reduce the flow of asylum seekers coming into Europe in exchange for easier visa travel rules for Turkish citizens seeking to visit Europe.
"We share common opportunities and challenges as made painfully clear by refugee crisis," the EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said at the European Parliament in Brussels during the report’s release on Tuesday.
"I commend Turkey’s humanitarian support to more than two million refugees; we have stepped up our cooperation for a joint action plan for refugees," Hahn said.
The Turkish government, according to official figures, has so far spent $7.6 billion on caring for around 2.5 million refugees it hosts inside the country.
"But our relation with Turkey extends beyond migration and we have to continue to enhance our cooperation in all areas of interest," he said.
Although Turkey has improved in terms of guaranteeing human rights and fundamental freedoms, the report noted that "shortcomings remain".
"The enforcement of rights stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights is not fully ensured," the report said.
"There is an urgent need to adopt a comprehensive framework law on combating discrimination in line with European standards," it added.
- 'Strength of Turkish democracy'
About elections in Turkey, the report said: "The June 7 general election saw a record 84 percent turnout, a clear sign of the strength of Turkish democracy with all major political parties being represented in the new parliament."
After the June election, Turkey saw a collapse of the "solution process" as well as an increase in PKK's terrorist attacks mainly in Turkey's southeast.
The "solution process" refers to an initiative of the Turkish government in early 2013, which was aimed at ending the decades-long armed campaign of the terrorist PKK group.
With the Justice and Development (AK) Party having won back its majority in the Nov.1 snap elections, the EU called on Turkey to re-engage the "solution process".
"The [European] Commission hopes to see an end to the escalating violence in Turkey and return to Kurdish issue," Hahn said.Last Mod: 10 Kasım 2015, 13:02