|Author (Person)||Cronin, David|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.36, 4.10.01, p4|
EUROPEAN Parliament chief Nicole Fontaine has protested vigorously to the Turkish government over its claims that a prominent MEP had "private connections" with the Greek Cypriot administration.
Last week Fontaine wrote to Turkey's foreign minister Ismail Cem, accusing him of launching an "ill-timed" attack on Luxembourg's former deputy premier and current Socialist MEP Jacques Poos.
Cem's department had issued a statement in early September, stating that Poos enjoyed private relations with the Greek authorities in Nicosia.
But Turkey's EU ambassador Nihat Akyol was unable to substantiate these allegations, when contacted by European Voice. The Ankara onslaught was launched in the same week that the parliament adopted a report by Poos, contending that Turkey would ruin its application for EU membership should it decide to annex the northern part of Cyprus.
Fontaine's letter said: "I can understand that the resolution adopted by the parliament would seem to you to be critical towards Turkey and that your perception of the Cypriot problem differs from that of our assembly. It is, on the other hand, not acceptable to call into question the good faith of a rapporteur, by affirming that he had contributed to the deterioration of EU-Turkey relations."
The attack, she continued, was "of a strictly personal character" against "a deputy whose competence and integrity are well-known". Fontaine's letter coincided with the biggest step Turkey has taken to advance its EU membership bid since it was formally recognised as a candidate for accession in 1999. Its national parliament has endorsed a package of extensive amendments to the country's constitution, introduced under military rule in 1982.
As well as enshrining the rights to freedom of expression and equality between the sexes in the constitution, the parliament recognised the rights of the 12-million-strong Kurdish community in Turkey to broadcast in its own language.
Turkey's poor treatment of the Kurds has been one of the most serious bones of contention between Ankara and Brussels for some time.
European Parliament chief Nicole Fontaine has protested vigorously to the Turkish government over its claims that a prominent MEP had 'private connections' with the Greek Cypriot administration.
|Countries / Regions||Cyprus, Malta, Turkey|