EU commission releases progress report on Turkey
The European Union Commission yesterday released its annual progress report on Turkey. Praising Turkey's economic reform efforts, the report also included criticism over political reforms, freedom of the press, and the fight against corruption. Urging Turkey to revive its political reform process, it decried how the lack of conciliatory spirit among Turkey's major political parties has harmed political and institutional reforms. The report also praised President Abdullah Gul's conciliatory role, his good working relations with the government, his calls to speed up reform efforts, and his active role in foreign policy. Speaking to a press conference in Brussels, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn called on Turkey to speed up its reform efforts, especially over the next calendar year. The commission yesterday also released its enlargement strategy document. Touching on Turkey's efforts to find peaceful solutions to issues in the Middle East and Caucasus as well as the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, the document said Turkey's strategic importance for the EU is rising in terms of energy security, preventing armed clashes, and establishing regional security in the Middle East and Caucasus. It said Turkey has become a stronger focus of stability in a problematic region thanks to its reforms towards EU accession. The Foreign Ministry yesterday praised the report's references to Turkey's strategic importance. A ministry statement said Turkey would continue to do its part in the negotiation process, and urged the EU to do the same.