Morillon Report Regarding Turkey´s Progress Towards Accession No:217 - November 15, 2000

The European Parliament at its plenary session today (15 November, 2000) has accepted the report prepared by Phillipe Morillon, regarding Turkey's progress towards accession. The Morillon Report, while following some accurate approaches, also contains some unfortunate expressions like themes calling on "Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus", to find a solution to the so called "Kurdish problem" and the so called "Armenian genocide" which has been included subsequently.

Although we have declared several times that, Turkish - EU relations should not exceed the framework of the Copenhagen criteria and that an approach reaching beyond the Helsinki decisions would not be accepted by us, the Morillon report compelled us once more to strongly emphasise this fact.

Without any doubt, the European Parliament which has a main role to fulfil in Turkey-EU relations would contribute to this task better if it made constructive observations based on actual historical evidence and adopted objective resolutions, instead of passing judgement on countries' history and culture.

It can be seen that some expressions used in the above-mentioned documents of the European Parliament, especially the allegations about the so called Armenian genocide, are primarily the result of the history and Turkey complex felt by some people on the one hand, and the aspiration of others to define Turkey within the framework of religious antagonism on the other. It is obvious that these initiatives, which have gained a certain support from people who have adhered to them without knowing Turkey, or its history, will be exploited by people trying to affect Turkish - EU relations negatively.

At a time when the pain of Armenian terrorism in the Turkish public still lingers, the paragraph regarding the so called Armenian genocide in the Morillon report, harms our relations with the European Parliament, which should be developed. The European Parliament in 1987 also took a decision about the Armenian genocide, which lacks any historical foundation. The wrong assessments of 1987 regretfully have again been included today in the Morillon report.

The Turkish Nation has never committed a crime against humanity, such as genocide, at any phase of its history. In other words, there exists no genocide against Armenians, nor has an order to commit genocide ever been given. All allegations contradicting these facts are ill-intentioned and lack foundation.

Another section in the Morillon report which is totally cut off from reality relates to the so called "Kurdish problem". The fact which has to be clarified and recognized in the first place is that, there is no such problem in Turkey. There are no minorities in Turkey except those described in the 1923 Lausanne Treaty and in our constitution all Turkish citizens, including minorities, have the same rights, freedoms and responsibilities.

The swift steps taken by our country in the fields of human rights and democratisation are intended for the welfare, peace and well-being of our Nation rather than for EU membership. It is natural that the methods regarding these steps will be determined by us.

We should reiterate once again that a reference to Cyprus in a resolution of the European Parliament regarding Turkey is an unfortunate development not only for Turkey-EU relations but also for the Cyprus talks process. There exist two equal peoples and two equal sovereign states representing them on the island. The compromise which would ensure a lasting peace and stability in Cyprus is to be found between these two states.

As we have persistently stated, we oppose creating linkages between Turkey's relations with the EU and Cyprus.

We also strongly reject the wording in the resolution that identifies the Turkish forces on the island as "occupation forces" and request their withdrawal.

Turkey is a guarantor state, and has carried out the 1974 Peace Operation within the scope of its rights and obligations stemming from international law. The Turkish forces stationed in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus today preserve peace and security on this basis and with the consent of the TRNC and they fulfil their duties to prevent the reoccurrence of the massacres of the Turkish Cypriots by the Greek Cypriots which happened in the 1960's.

Matters such as the Loizidou case and the Akyar affair whose resolution Turkey is held responsible for, concern the TRNC, and should not be included in a resolution regarding Turkey-EU relations.

Although knowing that this resolution is only of an advisory nature, the Turkish public will expect from the European Parliament which claims to be the voice of the European nation to take the voice and concerns of the Turkish Nation carefully into consideration in the period ahead.