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Inicio arrow newsitems arrow CoE Rapporteur on Medias due to be Replaced by Turkish MP in key Debate, CoE Officials tell Eurofora

CoE Rapporteur on Medias due to be Replaced by Turkish MP in key Debate, CoE Officials tell Eurofora

Escrito por ACM
20.04.18

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/-PanEuropean Organisation for Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law's Rapporteur on Medias, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Volodymyr Ariev, from Ukraine, is due to be Replaced by his Turkish collegue, Gulsun Bilgehan, Socialist, during the most Popular public Debate of CoE's Assembly, at Next Week's Plenary Session for Spring 2018 in Strasbourg, as competent CoE Top Officials revealed in Reply to a relevant Question by "Eurofora", during the regular Press Briefing of Strasbourg's permanent European Journalists by PACE's Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, earlier this morning.

"Eurofora", after being informed by unofficial but genuine Ukranian sources that Ariev was reportedly affected nowadays by a Harder than expected Flu, to the point to necessitate his urgent Hospitalisation, had asked what will happen in that Debate, scheduled for Wednesday, April 25, 2018, where the Biggest Number of MEPs from 47 CoE Member Countries (including Russia, Serbia,  Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, etc), have been already Registered to participate, and which extends from Morning up late Afternoon, dealing with Journalists' "Integrity" and Legal "Status" in Europe, (including presentations on the 2nd point by Elvira Drobinski-Weiss from Germany and Sunna Aevarsdottir from Iceland, them too Socialists  :  i.e. all 3 Socialists). 

Such a choice for a Turkish MP may naturally Surprise here, given the Exceptionally Harsh situation of Freedom of Press/Medias imposed by Ankara's regime since many years (even before 2016).

But it's true that Bilgehan is Vice-President of PACE's Culture, Science, Education and Media Committee,  as some pointed out. 

However, President of that Committee is ChristianDemocrat MEP from Spain, Maria Santa-Ana, and it has also Other Vice-Presidents, as Constantinos Efstathiou, from Cyprus, and Andres Herkel., from Estonia. In Addition, its Specialized Sub-Committee, precisely "on Media and Information Society", (i.e. the Most Relevant PACE's body), is Chaired by Petri Honkonen, a Liberal from Finland, with vice-President Maura Hopkins, a ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP from Ireland.

=> Therefore, given all these Facts, obviously Legitimate Questions are Raised about the Real Reason for which Spanish, Ukranian, Cypriot, Estonian, Finnish and Irish mainstream MEPs, holding Key relevant Positions inside PACE, (Comp. Supra), may be Threatened to be All Skiped and Replaced only by a Turkish collegue of them, (among 324 Representatives and 324 Substitutes  who are all PACE's Members),
 
Despite the Notoriously Harsh Situation of Medias'  Workers' Human Rights in Turkey, who face a World- Record High number of Violations there, (and taking also into account the particularly Delicate Issue of these or other more "Rules" to Impose on Journalistic Activities' Press/Expression Freedom also inside all Europe, as those Draft Reports claim to do)....

Or, was it, perhaps, precisely because of that  ?  

Indeed, this Exceptional CoE Assembly event unfolds just After controversial Turkish President Tayip Erdogan has notoriously announced Early Parliamentary and Presidential Elections for next June 2018.  

And the CHP main Opposition Party in Turkey, (to which belongs Ms Bilgehan), had, some Years Ago, Surprized several observers, (even "Eurofora'"s co-Founder, f.ex. when we met, in EU Parliament, with a locacious CHP MP, who vigorously urged EU to slam Ankara's Government for Massive Human Rights Violations, already Before 2016), by, apparently, taking a Strong stance for Democracy, Freedom and Rule of Law, against Oppression and Brutal Force, Criticizing, therefore, Ankara authorities' Hard Line policies.

Nevertheless, Meanwhile, more Recently, various Experienced European Observers, Started to be Astonished by a too often Repeated, Mass Mediatic Phenomenon, of too Many cases of so-called Last-Minute Turkish "Dissidents", who suddenly popped out of the.blue, grossly Exploiting an outrageous, (and often Exagerated or even inaccurate) Publicity, repeatedly painted, at Front-Page Headline "News" by some mainstream, Traditional Medias of the Establishment, as Fast-track, just Discovered "Heroes", (Despite having Benefited from "Cool Carreers" at Cosy, Routine and Cushy Top Jobs, withOut having Sacrificed Nothing substantial ever in their lives for any noble Cause). Even if some of them might, eventualy, have spend only a Few Days, Weeks or Months, reportedly at an Obscure Turkish Detention centre  :  I.e. almost as ... Erdogan himself had notoriously done, by entering Prison for 2 or 4 Months in the Past, until he Became Famous... 

=> To put it in a nutshell, it's all as if some kind of Gross Mediatic Manouver was going on, Attempting to ..."Prepare" a Handfull of possible "Candidates" ready to, eventually, Succeed and Take the Place of "Bad" Erdogan (painted more and more as an awfull "Hard-Liner" recently, with his personal complicity), at anOther Turkish Goverment, sooner or later in the foreseeable Future, which, naturally, would be Painted with the Colors of "the Good Guys", 100 %  pure Democracy, able to make Turkey Enter inside the EU, even Before most EU Citizens might have guess what was really happening to them ! ...

However, Facts are Facts, and they clearly Warn against such probable gross illusions, and the Harsh Deceptions that would soon Follow them :  
 
F.ex., the current Head of Turkey's main Opposition Party, Mr Kılıçdaroğlu of the CHP, who had Earlier taken a pose presented as that of a ..."Dove" for Peace and Democracy, etc, (even if his Predecessor, Ecevit, had notoriously ordered the bloody Military Invasion and Occupation of Cyprus' Northern Territories since 1974), has, more Recently, revealed a profile of rather an Oppressive and "War-Mongering" "Hawk"  :
 
Indeed, even a Turkish collegue, at the CoE in Strasbourg, recently reminded us the Fact that Kılıçdaroğlu's CHP has accepted and voted for the Expulsion from the National Parliament of the proggressive, pro-Peace, pro-Kurdish Party, whose Democratically Elected MPs were Striped of their Rights and Prosecuted even to Jail by Ankara's current Government. So that every Freedom-loving People couldn't but feel the Shivers by the UnPrecedented Spectacle of that same Turkish politician, Mr Kılıçdaroğlu, posing as CoE's ... Keynote Speaker, recently in Strasbourg, during an exceptionally curious "World Democracy Forum" 2017, Focused on how to ...Restrict, Prohibit, Exclude, Oppress, and even.... "Eradicate" that "Plague' (sic !), as one of his main interlocutors, sitting Side by Side, Astonishingly Boasted against People who had Different Views in the Political Debate  !  No need to share those or other such People's views, (something that we do Not), in order to simply feel Legitimately Revolted by such gross Anti-Democraticm, Brutal and Oppressive Threats against any People who simply have had Different Views in a Democratic Debate...

On the Contrary, new French President, Emmanuel Macron, proved in real practice, earlier this week, at nearby Vosges Mountains' Saint-Die city, that even Strong Disagreements on Issues of crucial Importance can and must be Democratically Debated, with elementary mutual Respect among initially Opposed parties  (See "Eurofora"'s NewsReport from the spot at : ...)  : 

- Indeed, contrary to an unrealistic "Nice, Gendle Mood" ambiant, just 1 Day Before, at the Official Launch of the 1st among a 6 Months-Long Series of EU Citizens Consultations throughout 27 EU Countries on Europe's foreseeable Future, that Macron had inaugurated the day before at nearby Epinal City's Congress Center ( See "Eurofora"s NewsReport from the spot at :  ...), that subsequent event at Saint-Dieu was, in fact, an unforseen, Harsh Clash in public, at the Street, standing for Hours amidst a crashing Heatwave, between 2 really Opposed Views, on a Hard nut to crack, concerning the current Strikes by Railway Workers against a proposed Reform before EU Competition starts to be applied soon  : 

Macron was initially aggressed, several times, by various Hostile Groups, smaller in number than his fans and simple friendly citizens,  but much more Loud, Negative, and initially grossly Insulting, to an unprecedented level, without any formal Police authorisation there..

But, instead of sending the Police to disperse them, or merely Ignoring them by walking towards another street where he was awaited by friendly Peuple, on the Contrary, the young French President bravely decided to go, meet and speak with those Opposed Dissidents, and Start Discussing with them for... Hours  !  This was repeated also with some other Loud Dissident Groups, extending the program for 2 or 3 Hours more, until Angry Cries were progressively replaced by Hard but Sincere Arguments, and even if there wasn't yet any breakthrough agreement in substance, at least, an obvious mutual Respect was apparently established (even some applaud was heard sometimes afteewards on certain points) ! 

On the Contrary, as far as it concerns the Different case of Mr Kılıçdaroğlu, (comp. Supra), things went, meanwhile, even More Nasty  : 

F.ex, going much Further than Erdogan's recent dangerous criticism of Lausanne Peace Treaty, particularly as far as EU s current External Borders between Member State Greece and Turkey are concerned at the Strategic Aegean Sea, Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly even Boasted afterwards that he would also ...Invade and Occupy some Greek Islands, there, before even Threatening, Later on, to do so also at a Larger scale, by reportedly snatching more than a Dozen of such Greek Islands on 2019 ! ...

I.e., precisely what was needed in order to make Erdogan look, Comparatively, as an... innocent Angel flying on the Sky ...
 
 
(../..)
 
 
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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
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    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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