Germany Says Turkey Falls Short on Rights

BERLIN (Reuters)–Germany said on Monday that Turkey’s human rights situation remained "unsatisfactory" and the country had not fulfilled the related criteria for entering the European Union.

"As before–the human rights situation in Turkey is unsatisfactory overall," Gunter Pleuger–deputy foreign minister–said in a letter to parliament.

Pleuger highlighted concern about the torture of prisoners in police custody as well as violations of freedom of expression and minority rights.

A candidate member to join the EU since 1999–Turkey has yet to begin negotiations due to concerns over its human rights record–and Pleuger said Turkey had failed to meet the EU’s 1993 Copenhagen criteria for new members.

"The Copenhagen criteria are not yet fulfilled," he wrote.

Turkey revised its constitution in October with a view to meeting EU membership criteria. But some areas of the package fell short of EU hopes–including restricting capital punishment to cases of "terrorism" rather than abolishing it.

"The German government believes that dialogue with Turkey is the best way to foster an improvement of the human rights situation in Turkey," Pleuger wrote in response to a parliamentarian’s questions.

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