Turkish

Cyprus talks must produce results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkish Cypriots let down by MEPs

 

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford, who has long taken an interest in Cyprus, has strongly condemned the majority in the European Parliament which has blocked facilitation of Turkish Cypriot trade with the EU and plans to invite Turkish Cypriot observers in the European Parliament.

 

Sarah Ludford commented:

 

“MEPs have let down Turkish Cypriots by refusing to make a reality of a 2004 EU promise to allow them to trade directly with the EU. More trade would have helped to bridge the gap between Turkish and Greek Cypriots in terms of income and economic development.”

 

Sarah's speech to Parliament on the resolution of the Kurdish issue in Turkey

Sarah Ludford (ALDE ). - Mr President, I fully support the point made by Mrs Oomen-Ruijten about making the progress report available in Turkish. That would have been automatic if Turkish had become an official language, as it should have done in 2004 upon the accession of Cyprus.

Brussels assists equal Hellim/Halloumi protection

 

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed the news that the Republic of Cyprus has withdrawn an application for the traditional Cypriot cheese to be given EU recognised protected origin (PDO) status only as Halloumi.

 

Sarah Ludford worked with her LibDem colleague Andrew Duff MEP in urging the European Commission to ensure that there would be no discrimination against production and export of the similar cheese from North Cyprus, where it is known as Hellim.

 

Hellim and Halloumi must have equal recognition

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has met with a delegation from North Cyprus to discuss equal treatment of Halloumi and Hellim cheese as regards EU recognition of protected-origin status.

Greek Cypriots applied for Halloumi cheese to be designated under the rules of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) which ensure that the product can’t be imitated or reproduced. Some British products such as the English cheese Stilton have the same protection.

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Sarah's bulletin: 2nd April

Dear friends,

We were particularly busy on consumer and citizens' rights in Brussels last week, as well as - very importantly - the interests of taxpayers. More on those stories later, first a word about the London Liberal Democrat conference last Saturday. 

London LibDems

About Sarah

Biography

Sarah LudfordSarah Ludford was elected to the European Parliament as MEP for London in 1999, prior to which she was a councillor in Islington for 8 years. An LSE graduate in international history, she also has a master's degree in European studies and is qualified as a barrister. 

Sarah speaks to the European Parliament about democratisation in Turkey

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - Madam President many of the reforms we constantly call for in Turkey come together in the saga of the repeated closure of Kurdish political parties of which that of the DTP last month is only the latest.

The continued failure to reform the Constitution the Law on Political Parties and the judiciary as well as the continued involvement of the military in politics all influence the context in which Kurdish democratic political representation is repeatedly sabotaged. These closures also sabotage the democratic opening launched last year by the Erdoğan Government which was rightly widely welcomed. The only way to get a durable settlement to the Kurdish question in Turkey is through a political solution and that is the best way to combat the PKK.

Democracy in Turkey undermined by DTP ban

In a debate in the European Parliament on democratisation in Turkey with EU High Representative for foreign affairs Catherine Ashton in the wake of last month's ban on the Kurdish Democracy and Society party (DTP) Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford will say:

"The need for urgent and substantial reform of the constitution to entrench human rights and democracy at the core of the Turkish state and society has been demonstrated yet again by the DTP ban. Although EU accession can act as leverage to ensure full democracy in Turkey the country deserves this for itself."

Sarah deplores closure of Turkey's Kurdish party

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - Mr President I want to deplore the deeply worrying decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court on Friday to close the Democracy Society Party which represents largely Kurdish interests and to ban from politics its leading MPs. This is a very retrograde step and will be used as a pretext to return to violence by extremists. It closes off the democratic political option which the Prime Minister Mr Erdogan has said he wants to pursue.

One of the problems is that the AK Party Government has failed to reform the very law which was used to close the Democracy Society Party - in fact the law under which the AK Party itself almost got closed. So this is not in the interests of the Government of Turkey or its people.

Sarah addresses the European Parliament on the closure of Turkey's Kurdish party

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - Mr President I want to deplore the deeply worrying decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court on Friday to close the Democracy Society Party which represents largely Kurdish interests and to ban from politics its leading MPs. This is a very retrograde step and will be used as a pretext to return to violence by extremists. It closes off the democratic political option which the Prime Minister Mr Erdogan has said he wants to pursue.

One of the problems is that the AK Party Government has failed to reform the very law which was used to close the Democracy Society Party - in fact the law under which the AK Party itself almost got closed. So this is not in the interests of the Government of Turkey or its people.

Closure of Turkey's Kurdish party would be major setback for EU accession

The possible closure of the Kurdish interest party in Turkey the Democratic Society Party (DTP) would be a major blow to Turkey's democratic credentials and therefore to its prospects of joining the EU. Hearings on the closure case began on December 9th in Turkey's Constitutional Court.

The DTP is threatened with closure - a ban of the party and all its elected representatives - due to allegations of ties with the Kurdistan Workers' Party the PKK which is branded a terrorist group.

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said after meeting Akif Wan UK representative of the Kurdish National Congress:

Sarah discusses Turkey-EU relations with Turkish MP Nursuna Memecan

Left to Right: Turhan Ozen of Islington Liberal Democrats Nursuna Memecan MP Sarah Ludford MEP and Meral Ece also of Islington Liberal Democrats.

Left to Right: Turhan Ozen of Islington Liberal Democrats Nursuna Memecan MP Sarah Ludford MEP and Meral Ece also of Islington Liberal Democrats.

Jail sentence for Leyla Zana condemned

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Baroness Sarah Ludford has condemned the 15 month prison sentence imposed by Turkish court on Kurdish politician Leyla Zana for comments she made about the PKK and its jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Sarah Ludford who is the Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman has met Leyla Zana on several occasions and is an outspoken supporter of cultural and political rights for Kurdish people in Turkey and elsewhere.

She said: "As is well known I am a firm advocate of Turkish accession to the EU. But the necessary reforms must include respect for free speech an end to the criminalisation of legitimate if controversial political views and the related ending of the role of the military at the heart of state power."

Strengthening London's Turkish links - attaché visits Islington Council

Cllr Meral Ece Mr Izzet Giritlioglu Cllr Laura Willoughby Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP

Meral Ece Laura Willoughby and Sarah Ludford welcome Turkish Attache Izzet Giritlioglu.

Turkish Cypriots betrayed by language decision

London Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford has expressed strong regret at the decision not to make Turkish an official language of the EU from May 2004 when Cyprus joins the Union.

This situation arises because the Republic of Cyprus has nominated only Greek as an official language even though both Greek and Turkish are its official languages under the Constitution and the European Commission and EU Council of Ministers have not protested.

In practice this means that Turkish Cypriots who do not speak Greek or English cannot apply for jobs in the EU institutions.

Sarah Ludford commented:

Turkish should be an official EU language

Liberal Democrat MEPs Baroness Sarah Ludford and Baroness Emma Nicholson met Turkish Cypriot opposition party leaders Mehmet Ali Talat and Ali Erel after they had spoken at the European Parliament in Strasbourg about the prospects for negotiating a peaceful settlement in Cyprus on the Basis of the UN 'Annan plan' if they win the elections in North Cyprus in December.

Sarah Ludford is taking up with EU authorities the issue about Turkish not having been designated an official language from next May when the Republic of Cyprus joins the EU. Since Turkish is an official language of the Republic of Cyprus as well as Greek she feels that the Greek Cypriot government should have nominated Turkish as an official EU language too or the EU leadership should have pressed them to do so.

AMEC AGM Protest

London's Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Baroness Sarah Ludford is attending the AGM of construction firm AMEC on Thursday May 8th to protest at their involvement in building the controversial Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline.

This pipeline would stretch over a thousand miles from the Azerbaijan of Baku through Tbilisi in Georgia ending in the Mediterranean city of Ceyhan in Turkey. Environmental and Human Rights campaigners charge that it would breach international norms eg environmental standards.

Some light in Cyprus?

Sarah Ludford LibDem Euro-MP for London has welcomed the constructive initiatives on free movement announced by both Turkish and Greek Cypriots recently though she regrets some accompanying unhelpful rhetoric. She said:

"Steps such as the these will go some way to build confidence whilst easing the economic imbalance between the two communities. However the big issue of a divided Cyprus joining the EU cannot be dodged under a carpet of small measures however welcome these are."

The Greek Cypriot government has announced a series of proposals to allow trade across the Green Line and to enable Turkish Cypriots to work in the south while Mr Denktash has proposed facilitating free movement of people including tourists and bilateral reconciliation contacts.

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