Turkey must do more to put promised improvements of human rights into practice before membership talks with the European Union begin this year. European Commissioner for Enlargement Ollie Rehn told Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul many reforms remain theoretical. Recent laws aimed at improving Turkey’s chequered human rights record helped convince European leaders to start accession talks with Turkey.
The warning could not have come at a more appropriate moment. On Sunday in Istanbul, Turkish police used batons, pepper spray and their boots to break up a demonstration by women’s rights supporters.
Some 60 people, including 29 women, were arrested. Turkey had promised to do more to improve the plight of women in its bid to join the EU club. Amnesty International says up to half of women face domestic abuse in Turkey, in what it describes as a “culture of violence”.