German Politicians Increase Pressure on Turkey over EU Reforms

BERLIN (Reuters)–Turkey needs to reinvigorate its reform drive if it wants to start European Union entry talks as planned on October 3–two leading German politicians say.

"At the moment–I do not see any movement. If that remains the case–there will be no start to entry negotiations," Martin Schulz–the Socialist leader of the European Parliament–told Berliner Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

"We must say clearly: If Turkey wants negotiations–further things need to happen," he told Sunday’s edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper.

Guenter Gloser–the European spokesman of Germany’s ruling Social Democrats–told the same newspaper he feared Turkey was in a "weak phase of fatigue" after a string of reforms encouraged EU leaders in December to offer Ankara a date for talks.

The EU might have to delay the start of talks if Turkey did not act–he said.

The German lawmakers’ commen’s partly echo those of EU envoy Hansjorg Kretschmer–who said earlier this month Turkey was showing "slippage" in its reform drive.

Television footage showing police beating and kicking mainly women demonstrators at a rally on March 6 shocked many in Europe and drew sharp criticism from EU officials. Turkey has pledged a full probe and six police officers have so far been suspended.

The Istanbul incident revived concerns that Turkey is not fully implementing a range of EU-inspired human rights reforms.

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