SNP Call For Dialogue On Eu Turkey-Kurdistan Future

16 October 2006
SNP Europe Spokesman Alyn Smith has today criticised the Turkish government for slow progress on internal reform and called for real dialogue between the EU, Turkey and the Kurds as part of Turkey's accession talks.

Mr Smith was speaking at a major two day conference in Brussels organised by the EU-Turkey Civic Commission, of which he is a member of the Advisory Council.

Speaking after the conference, Mr Smith said:

"I was proud to represent the SNP, and our positive inclusive civic nationalism at the conference. We in Scotland have achieved a massive, ongoing, constitutional change without so much as a bloody nose.

"Sadly the same is far from true in Turkey, and it grieves me that in the last year Turkey has in many ways gone backwards in reform. The provisions of the new terrorism legislation are particularly worrying. I voted for the opening of EU accession talks with Turkey as I think it remains the only way to encourage reform, though this is not a blank cheque. Turkey has to recognise that the door will not remain open for ever unless we see real progress on Cyprus, the recognition of the Armenian genocide and of course minority rights for the Kurds and other minorities.

"It is telling that the secretariat of the organisers of the conference is based in Oslo. Another small Northern European country playing their part in the world. Scotland could too, and be a real force for good in the world."