Yttrandefrihet, lika rättigheter för män och kvinnor och rättssäkerhet är alla exempel på områden som måste förbättras avsevärt innan ett turkiskt EU-medlemskap kan bli verklighet. Samtidigt är Turkiets medlemskap, efter att dessa kriterier uppfyllts, något som kan stärka EU som helhet och väsentligt förbättra exempelvis det säkerhetspolitiska läget i Europa.
Läs anförandet i sin helhet nedan:
Madam President, first of all I would like to thank Mrs Oomen-Ruijten for this report. It underlines that Turkey in many areas already is part of European projects, but it also underlines that there is development, there is a movement going on, regarding reform of Turkish society. At the same time it underlines that those reforms and those changes are being made far too slowly, that there is much more to do.
But that leaves us with a fundamental question: is the European Union and are Europe and European values better off with a Turkey that is fulfilling all the requirements and has made all the reforms that are underlined in the report, or are we better off with a Turkey that will maybe lean in the future more to other parts of the world, to other values? I think the answer to this question is quite obvious, and that underlines that we must of course keep the pressure on regarding all the changes that need to be made in Turkey with regard to freedom of expression, reform of the Article 301 paragraph, freedom of religion, equal rights for women and men, not only in legislation but also in reality, and of course the need for a solution to the Cyprus issue and a number of other issues. But with that perspective, if the accession negotiations deliver all these results, it is very important that the European Union is open for the membership of Turkey because this would strengthen European values, Europe and the European Union, and I think that is the necessary and obvious conclusion of this debate.