Saturday, December 11, 2010
Roma population seminar to be held on road to EU
11 December 2010, Saturday /
AYŞE KARABAT , ANKARA
PHOTO NIGEL DICKERSON
Turkey, which has slammed France for its attitude towards the Roma, is planning to hold a “Roma citizens in Turkey” seminar on Dec. 15-16, with the participation of associations and representatives of the Roma population.
The meeting aims to reassess the situation of the Roma population in accordance with the political criteria of the EU and will be organized by Turkey’s Secretariat-General for EU Affairs (ABGS) and the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange program (TAIEX).
The seminar in İstanbul will cover aspects of the Roma population including access to social services, combating stereotypes, housing and urban renewal, working life and employment challenges, while its opening remarks will be delivered by State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bağış and State Minister Faruk Çelik.
It is expected that during the seminar Roma musicians will give a concert, performing their version of The European Anthem and other classical songs.
The Turkish government last year launched an initiative to address the problems of the Roma population in Turkey, which is estimated to be around 2 million. Diplomatic sources in the ABSG underlined that the Roma in Turkey, as in many parts of Europe, are among the most disadvantaged groups; however, the Turkish government aims to address their problems.
Within the framework of the government’s Roma initiative, derogatory terms in legislation have been removed and the construction of 10,000 new houses for the Roma population throughout Turkey has already started, although some features of the construction have led to discussions on whether they are compatible with the culture of the Roma.
Bağış, who paid a three-day visit to Denmark this week, emphasized during his meetings the tremendous importance that the government attributes to the Roma initiative.
“While France was deporting its Roma population, our Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly apologized to the Roma population,” he said during conferences in Denmark.
He underlined that it is interesting to note that Turkey is taking these steps as a candidate country to the EU, while some members of the EU, such as France and Belgium, are implementing discriminatory measures against the Roma population.
“It is very natural for us to remind others that obeying the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not just the duty of Turkey, but of the whole world,” he told a group of journalists accompanying him, adding that realistic solutions are needed for the problems of the Roma.
Posted by Morgan at 10:58 AM