EU progress report said to praise Turkey's reform efforts, active foreign policy
In its 2010 progress report on Turkey, set to be released early next month, the European Commission reportedly praises Ankara's constitutional reform efforts and its proactive foreign policy of recent years. On the constitutional reform package passed last month in a referendum, the report reportedly says, "Turkey continued the political reform process, and made amendments to the Constitution by realizing key reforms in such areas as the judiciary, fundamental rights, and the political and judicial systems. The adopted reforms streamline the jurisdiction of the military courts, restructure the Constitutional Court, broaden the composition of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), and expand union rights in the public sector. The constitutional changes are an important step in the right direction." Stating that Turkey's foreign policy has become much more energetic in recent years, it says, "If it is improved as a complementary element of Turkey's European Union accession process and its cooperation with the EU, Turkey's active foreign policy is an important asset for the Union." Stressing the need for Turkey to strengthen its laws and practices in the areas of fundamental rights, freedom of expression, press freedom, women's rights, union rights and religious liberty, the report says that the government's democratic expansion initiative meant to solve the southeastern Anatolia or Kurdish issue made limited progress. Stating that Turkey's slowed EU accession process means more efforts are needed from Ankara, the reports urges it to do more in such negotiation chapters as competition policy, public procurement, social policies and employment. While recognizing Turkey's continued support for a UN-mediated solution to the Cyprus issue, it says Ankara failed to develop relations with the Greek Cypriot administration. The report also urges Turkey to solve bilateral problems, including border-related ones, with neighboring countries.