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Turkey rights situation worsening, MEPs say

[JURIST] Members of the European Parliament's Human Rights Subcommittee [official website] expressed concern Friday that the human rights situation in Turkey [JURIST news archive; CIA backgrounder] is worsening, saying they heard increased accounts of torture, abductions and other abuses during a recent fact-finding visit to southeastern Turkey, where Kurdish separatists are clashing with the military. British delegate Richard Howitt [official profile], one of six subcommittee members who also visited Istanbul and Ankara, described the reports from local rights groups as evidence of "very, very worrying times in Turkey." The delegation is expected to make a report to the full Parliament within a month.

Turkey's effort to gain accession to the EU [official website; EU backgrounder] has drawn attention to the nation's record on human rights and freedom of expression and the EU has cautioned [JURIST report] that Turkey's EU bid will not be accepted unless the situation improves. Earlier this month, the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee approved a report taking Turkey to task for slow progress [JURIST report] on a variety of legal and other reforms. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

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