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Turkish government urged to make judicial reforms for EU accession

[JURIST] A council for the European Union (EU) [official website] on Tuesday said that Turkey should do more [press release, PDF] in terms of judicial reform, protection of citizens' rights, and various other efforts in order to further their request to be granted accession to the EU [criteria materials]. The 47th meeting of the EC-Turkey Association Council was held in Brussels on Tuesday to review relations between Turkey and the EU. The EU acknowledged the Turkish government's progress and commitment to reaching the accession requirements but maintained that reforms and substantial efforts are still needed in the areas of:

judicial reform, anti-corruption strategy, effective protection of citizens' rights, full implementation of the policy of zero tolerance of torture and ill-treatment, ensuring freedom of expression and of religion in law and in practice for all religious communities, respect for property rights, respect for and protection of minorities and strengthening of cultural rights, women's rights, children's rights and trade union rights, and the civilian authorities' control of the military.
The EU expressed hope that Turkey would increase its efforts to implement the reforms and measures required for accession.

Earlier this month, secular judges in Turkey warned [JURIST report] the ruling Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish] that proposed constitutional amendments were going too far in promoting an Islamic agenda. Constitutional reforms are an issue for Turkey's accession to the EU since its constitution was written under military rule and limits freedom of expression and religion. Earlier this year, a report [text, PDF, in Turkish] by advocacy group Tesev [advocacy website] argued that Turkish property rights still fell short [JURIST report] of those required to join the EU. Last year, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso [official profile] addressed the Turkish parliament [JURIST report] to applaud the government's efforts to reform a controversial provision of the Turkish penal code [JURIST report] but stressed that further efforts would be necessary.

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