[JURIST] The Foreign Affairs Committee [official website] of the European Parliament [official website] approved a report Monday taking Turkey to task for slow progress on a variety of legal and other reforms agreed to by Ankara as part of its bid [EU backgrounder] for membership in the European Union [JURIST news archive]. Among other things, Turkey was criticized [press release] for its persistent shortcomings in areas such as freedom of expression, religious and minority rights, the role of the military, policing, womens rights, trade union rights and cultural rights. The parliamentary committee also called for Turkey to acknowledge responsibility for the Armenian genocide [JURIST news archive] that took place during World War One, an admission Turkey has until now rejected. On the positive side, however, the report also acknowledged Turkeys progress [EU Observer report] in opening the first chapter of EU legislation, introducing new laws to fight corruption and broadcasting in minority Kurdish.
The text of the report will be debated by the full European Union Parliament [official website] in September and a formal progress report on Turkeys accession progress is due on October 24; the EU has urged Turkey to make tangible improvements by that time. The European Union Parliament has never vetoed a past accession bid but if the reform process is not reinvigorated, the accession talks could be placed on hold. Reuters has more.