EU Pressing Turkey to End Torture | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 01.11.2005
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EU Pressing Turkey to End Torture

In order to appease the critics of Turkey joining the EU, the European Commission is preparing a draft document listing almost 150 tasks that the country needs to accomplish before becoming a member.


Before joining the EU, Turkey still has a lot of work to do

Turkey will have two years to eliminate torture, establish freedom of religion and assert civilian control over the military if it wants to become a European Union member in

10 years, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

The British newspaper said it had seen a draft in which the European Commission will this month give Turkey a checklist of a nearly 150 short-term tasks for becoming an EU member.

The draft document is aimed at easing EU voters' concerns about Turkey's potential membership.

Zero tolerance for torture

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Turkey within the next year or two will have to "ensure implementation... of the 'zero tolerance' policy against torture" and "to adopt a law comprehensively addressing all the difficulties faced by non-Muslim religious minorities and communities," the daily said, citing the draft.

It added that during the same period the country must "establish full parliamentary oversight of military and defense policy," "abolish any remaining competence of military courts to try civilians" and "ensure the independence of the judiciary," the daily reported.

Filling in the gaps

Österreich EU-Beitrittsverhandlungen Türkei Außenminister Ursula Plassnik

Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik was against Turkish membership

The draft fills in the gaps left by last month's decision to begin membership talks with Ankara, it said.

The negotiations themselves are not likely to begin until next year and the commission's proposals emphasize the need for Turkey to focus on implementation after a series of legislative changes in 2003 and 2004.

European leaders on Oct. 4 clinched a historic deal enabling Turkey to plan for membership in a decade after Austria backed down on demands that the country should be offered a partnership falling short of membership.

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