ANKARA (Reuters)–Turkey’s top rights activist on Wednesday briefed envoys of European Union countries on issues ranging from the country’s shaky rights record to illegal migration to Europe–diplomats said.
"Diplomats from the embassies of EU member countries attended a briefing here–at noontime," an official from the British embassy told Reuters.
Akin Birdal–the chairman of the Human Rights Association (IHD)–said he told the EU envoys that Turkey had still had a long way to go to improve its shaky rights record.
The European Union put Turkey’s long-standing membership bid on an indefinite hold last month–citing worries over human rights abuses among reasons for its decision. Turkey responded by saying it would no longer discuss such matters with the EU.
"There were three items on the agenda: rights violations–illicit migration (from Turkey to Europe) and Turkey’s failures to meet EU expectations," Birdal said. He declined to elaborate.
The arrival of about 2,000 illegal migran’s in Italy this month–many of them Kurds from Turkey–created pressure on Ankara to solve its Kurdish problem by European countries worried about a possible flood of refugees.
Rights activists say Turkey is conducting a dirty war against Kurdish rebels–leading to a wave of migration from the mainly Kurdish southeast to Turkey’s big cities and Europe.
Turkish says the migration has economic reasons and is not due to any persecution of the Kurds.