In a resolution adopted by a large majority on Thursday, the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said that EU and Turkey will gain from closer ties, given their mutual dependence, Turkey's economic potential and its role as a strategic player in the region.
However, it calls on Turkey to settle the Cyprus, Armenia and Kurdish issues and for progress with judicial reform and the protection of civil liberties.
The resolution, drawn up by Ria Oomen-Ruijten (EPP, NL), and adopted by 54 votes to 7, with 2 abstentions, is scheduled for a vote in plenary, on 29 March, in Brussels.
The committee "insists that Turkey's relations with neighbouring EU member states are a key factor in revamping negotiations and dialogue". It "strongly supports the ongoing negotiations on Cyprus reunification" and asks Turkey to begin withdrawing its forces from Cyprus and comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
It also regrets Turkey's statements that it will freeze relations with the Cyprus Presidency of the EU if the Cyprus issue is not resolved by the second half of 2012. It also urges Turkey and Armenia to normalise their relations.
MEPs also press Turkey to find a political solution to the Kurdish issue. They call for the political, cultural, and socio-economic inclusion of citizens of Kurdish origin and for greater socio-economic development in the south-east, taking the view that the constitutional reform process that is under way in Turkey provides a framework for a democratic opening.
The committee regards constitutional and judicial reform as vital and backs the Commission's new approach of tackling judicial reform, fundamental rights, justice and home affairs issues early in the negotiating process with Turkey, by opening the relevant chapters.