Turkey has told the European parliament it is exaggerating. The EU-applicant dismissed a report accusing Ankara of dragging its heels on reforms. The Turks say the report lacked common sense and smacked of political bias. The EU assembly’s foreign affairs committee has approved a text which slams Turkey for not living up to the commitments it gave when it got the green light last October to start talks on joining the bloc. Dutch conservative Camiel Eurlings, who drafted the paper, said: “Even after the modernization of the penal code, we see that a few articles in the new penal code (notably 301 but also other articles that are mentioned), are abused or used by judges to imprison or indict people for a non-violent expression of opinion.”
The report also urged Ankara to recognise Cyprus. Experts fear the dispute over Turkish ports closed to Cypriot traffic, political inertia and unfavourable public opinion could lead to a breakdown in accession talks with the strategic, Muslim EU candidate country.