Turkey slams EU findings

Turkey on Tuesday rejected the European Union’s report criticising the state of human rights and media freedom in the country.

Some of the report’s observations are “unfair and even partly disproportionate, and ignore the freedom-security balance required in a democratic country governed by the rule of law”, the ministry responsible for EU affairs said in a statement.

It also calls the criticism about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s use of powers as laid down in the constitution as “unacceptabe”.

The report should have been released before the November 1 election that brought Erdogan’s party back to power, but for some reason, not specified by the EU, it was delayed. The report chided Ankara for “serious backsliding” on freedom of expression and said the judiciary had been undermined.

Turkey’s EU ministry said however that Ankara had adopted several reform packages in recent years to bolster freedom of expression and an “independent and unbiased” judiciary.

“We will continue to take necessary steps in the coming period in order to attain higher standards in the spheres of fundamental rights, freedoms and rule of law,” it said.

Speaking to CNN International on Monday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu admitted Turkey needed to do more to upgrade its democracy and that he would be announcing new political and economic reforms in the next two weeks.

Turkey began accession talks with the EU as far back as 2005 but the talks have stalled over a number of disputes including Ankara’s performance on human rights and democracy.