Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Memoranda

Correspondence between the Clerk of the Committee and the Head of the Parliamentary Relations and Devolution Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Letter from the Clerk of the Committee to the Head of PRDD, Foreign and Commonwealth Office


  The Committee today considered the Government's response[3] to its Sixth Report on Turkey, and has asked me to write requesting the following further information.

  1.   Torture: The Government's response to the Committee's recommendation at paragraph 43 does not entirely address the Committee's point, which was about the involvement of international NGOs in Government human rights training programmes. In its Report, the Committee comments: "We were surprised to hear from Amnesty International that they have no input into the Government's human rights training programmes for the Turkish authorities. NGOs such as Amnesty have first-hand experience of the human rights situation on the ground in Turkey, and it could be useful to draw on this experience when devising training programmes intended to improve the situation." The Committee would appreciate a direct response on this point.

  2.   Assistance from the UK and EU: In its response to the Committee's recommendation at paragraph 76, the Government states: "Extension of the Phare programme to Turkey may be something for consideration later this year". The Committee urges the Government to ensure that this matter is indeed considered, and it has asked for an update on the situation as soon as possible after such consideration has occurred, or early in 2003 should it not occur this year, with an explanation as to why this is the case.

  3.   Assistance from the UK and EU: In its response to the Committee's recommendation at paragraph 78, the Government states: "Any additional funding for Turkey which becomes available during Spending Round 2002 would undoubtedly be focussed in these key areas [capacity building, human and institutional]". How has additional funding from Spending Round 2002 been allocated to Turkey programmes?

  4.   Cyprus: The Committee understands that, in the context of ongoing negotiations, the Government's response to the Committee's conclusion and recommendation at paragraph 92 is as much as can be stated publicly. Is the Government able, however, to elaborate on its response by way of a confidential memorandum?

  5.   Bilateral relations: In its response to the Committee's recommendations at paragraph 122, the Government notes that "the strong case for spending more in Turkey on programmes such as Chevening scholarships has helped underpin one significant element in the FCO's bid during SR2002." Following the increase in allocations for Chevening scholarships in the 2002 Spending Review, can an update be provided to the table of Wider Europe Chevening allocations provided by the FCO on 20 March, and set out at page Ev 80 of the Committee's Report[4], Specifically, has the allocation to Turkey increased, and by how much?

  6.  The Committee would also like updates in due course on:

    —  progress on exploring with the Turkish authorities the Committee's recommendation at paragraph 41 (on the Police and Criminal Evidence Act);

    —  the results of the FCO's evaluation of projects to improve use of forensic techniques by the Jandarma and police (see paragraph 42);

    —  the outcome of the Government's undertaking to consider providing funds to encourage greater cross-border co-operation between Turkey and Iran, and increasing assistance to Turkish customs operating at vulnerable border crossings (see paragraph 114);

    —  the outcome of the Government's consideration of what more can be done to enhance British-Turkish relations at the level of civic society (see paragraphs 125).

  The Chairman has also written separately to the Foreign Secretary, requesting a response as soon as possible to each of the Committee's conclusions which is not directly addressed in the published Government response.5

  Please can a reply on points 1 to 5 be provided by midday on Wednesday 18 September.

Clerk of the Committee

23 July 2002

3   Cm 5529, July 2002. Back

4   HC (2001-02) 606. Back

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Prepared 9 December 2002