PACE President expresses support for Turkey’s EU bid

Strasbourg, 13.10.2009 – Lluís Maria de Puig, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has ended a three-day visit to Turkey by expressing his personal support for Turkey’s accession to the European Union and his conviction that continuation of democratic reforms will help the country achieve this objective.

“I expressed my appreciation for the democratic reforms accomplished by Turkey, and encouraged the authorities to continue these in order to reinforce democratic institutions in the country, including through constitutional reform,” the President said. He also called for the creation of the institution of Ombudsman, and the extension of minority rights.
“The image of Turkey as a European state, and a member of the democratic family that is the Council of Europe, will be highlighted by its Chairmanship of the Organisation’s Committee of Ministers, which begins in November 2010,” he pointed out.
Mr de Puig also welcomed the agreement to normalise relations between Turkey and Armenia, both Council of Europe member states, as an important step and called for its ratification and implementation by both countries as soon as possible.
During his visit, from 10-13 October, Mr de Puig met the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, the Minister for European Affairs and chief negotiator with the EU, the head of Turkey’s parliamentary delegation and representatives of opposition parties, among others. He also presented the Mayor of Ankara with the Europe Prize, the highest distinction that can be bestowed on a European town for its actions in the European domain.
Turkey has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1949.