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Dec 10 2018

Turkey set to reform judiciary to join EU

By the end of this year, the Turkish government aims to follow through with a comprehensive judicial reform strategy in order to join the European Union, pro-government Hürriyet Daily News said on Monday.

Turkey’s EU accession talks are set to resume after a pause of more than two years, which the daily interprets as "a move signalling country's determination to join the European Union."

The Turkish government will hold this year's second Reform Action Group meeting on Dec. 11 to discuss the required standards and concerns raised by the Council of Europe and the European Union for full membership.

The Reform Action Group includes senior officials from the justice and foreign ministries of Turkey and proposes to draft a reform strategy to meet the required standards of the EU and the Council of Europe. 

“The principles and assessments of the EU, the Council of Europe and other international organizations as well as the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will be taken into consideration in the drafting process," Hürriyet Daily News quoted the group's statement as saying.

The group will discuss issues such as “long detention periods, trials pending, speeding up trial periods, and independent judiciary,” the daily said.

"The aim of the new strategy is to further enhance trust in the judiciary, improve access to the justice system, increase its effectiveness and provide better protection for the right to trial within a reasonable time,” the statement said.

Ankara also expects to fulfil some regulations for visa liberation, according to the daily. These regulations cover signing a legal cooperation agreement with EU member countries, reviewing the law on the protection of personal data and reviewing draconian anti-terrorism legislation, the daily said.

Turkey started accession talks in 2005. The process went slowly, then ground to a halt in July 2016 following a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Concerning Turkey, an annual EU report released in April said "respect of the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms is an essential obligation that it must meet as a candidate country."