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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE asks Turkey to stop Oppression against Democratic Alternative for Kurds +slams Terrorism on Army

CoE asks Turkey to stop Oppression against Democratic Alternative for Kurds +slams Terrorism on Army

Parašė ACM
Friday, October 21, 2011


The President of CoE watchdog for Local/Regional Democracy (CLRAE), experienced British representative of the Governing Coalition (Liberal) Keith Whitmore, replying to an "EuroFora" question, stressed that, "certainly",  so many (even Elected) "People being locked up in Jail" in Turkey for three years without Trial, "are Not Acceptable", both because "Human Rights are at the Core of CoE's mission" and also from the Democratic standards point of view.

    Whitmore was speaking of the "Massive Detention of local Elected Politicians" among more than 3.000 People ("Local Officials, Human Rights Activists", etc) from the Kurdish Minority in Turkey since the 2009 Local and Regional Elections, for which the PanEuropean Congres of Local and Regional Authorities (CLRAE) just decided to ask its "Monitoring Committee to closely look" at the matter, "in the light ..of the European Charter of Local Self-Government", that Ankara's Government has to respect.

    The move came in a larger framework of what appeares as an indirect but crystal clear CoE call on Turkey to lift oppresive obstacles to Democratic Alternatives for the Kurdish Minority, while alsoi condemning those who push towards Terrorism and Military clashes after attacks against the Turkish Army at the Iraqi borders, prolonging violent deadly clashes which have already durated more than 30 Years (1984-2011), witout conclusion, showing the need for a Political, Democratic Solution, as Turkey was reminded, (See infra).

     CLRAE's Bureau also decided to ask CoE's "Commissioner of Human Rights", Thomas Hammarberg from Sweden, "to look into the issue of the Detention of local Elected Politicians in Turkey, in the light of the European Convention on Human Rights", whose violations are condemned by Strasbourg's PanEuropean Court.

    Moreover, CLRAE called "the President of the (Pan)European Committee for the prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatments .. (CPT) to examine the Detention Conditions" of jailed Kurdish Elected Politicians such as "Ms Leyla Guven" (a former CLRAE Member) in the Diyarbakir E-type Prison".

    F.ex. Guven "has to share with 23 inmates Rooms normally foreseen for 8 Persons" only, (i.e. 400% overcrowded !!!), with the result to be obliged, every night, to Sleep only for a few Hours in a bed, shared in turns, one after the other (!), as CLRAE's Heads of Delegation, who visited her on the spot after years-long efforts, mainstream ChristianDemocrat/EPP Swedish representative Anders Knape, CLRAE's vice-President,  and Socialist representative Leen Verbeek, vice-President of the Dutch Delegation to the CLRAE, denounced during Plenary Debates earlier this week.  Moreover, she has to consecrate the 3 only Hours per Week during which she is allowed by the Turkish Authorities to communicate with other People, just to try to care for the City which elected her Mayor, without Time to see her Children, during all these 3 Years closed in a Prison where "showering Water is only available for a Short period of Time each day", with a "Poor Sanitation", Hindered to Speak in Court in her Mother Tongue : Kurdish, etc., all this resulting in clear "signs of Stress, such as Perspiration and tension", typical of the "Prisoner Syndrom", etc.
     - But, "instead of having just one or two Statements, I think it's better to set in motion a real Proces", allowing to work in a "Rational, Sensible way, with Factual Arguments, to talk with  the appropriate authorities, and, at the End of this, to have a Proper Reform" and real Change, "rather than only some kind of ephemeral, verbal reaction", President Whitmore went on in his Reply to "EuroFora"s Question, explaining thus why CLRAE''s Bureau also asked him to "Regularly Inform (CoE's) Committee of Ministers", its Top Political body, as well as CoE's "Parliamentary Assembly", etc., in an obvious effort to Start using at the same time various CoE's Monitoring Mechanisms all together vis a vis Turkey, including on the Conditions for Turkey's controversial and unpopular EU bid, "regarding the need to improve Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law".


    - Because CLRAE's Delegation, which has just made a Visit on the spot, after years of refusal by the Turkish Authorities, strongly denounced in its Report that such "an apparently Systematic, Massive and On-Going Persecution of Local Politicians, is UNDERMINING local DEMOCRACY" !
    => Therefore, the Vice-President of CLRAE's Monitoring Committee, and vice-Chairman of the French Delegation, Socialist mainstream representative Francis Lec, asked in the most official terms, and "on behalf of all the French Delegation", to "immediately release" the imprisoned former CLRAE Member Mrs Leyla Gulen, after 3 years of jail without even trial.


    - Indeed, "we (CoE) can't just Sit down and Wait !" for even longer, denounced also CoE's co-Rapporteur on the issue of the 3.000 Kurdish Elected and other Local/Regional Officials which are still Jailed since the 2009 Elections, vice-President of the Dutch Delegation, Leen Vebeck.


    - A fortiori when the jailed Kurdish Elected representatives such as Mes Gulen, "Reject very clearly any Armed struggle", focusing just on Peaceful and Democratic ways for Political debate, as observed also CLRAE's experienced vice-President, Swedish ChristianDemocrat representative Anders Knappe.


    - As for the freedom for her and other jailed politicians to speak their Mother Tongue in Turkish Courts, Austrian representative Mrs Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom observed that, in several European hotspots this is legally possible, thanks to Interpreter's help, and proposed for CoE's Legal/Constitutional watchdog known as "Venice Committee for Democracy through Law" to advise the Turkish Government on how to proceed, if needed, with adapting its law on this point.


 - "I hope that this (CoE criticism on Turkey) would help also Many others among those Elected Officials in Jail" since 2009, f.ex. by speeding up Trials and hopefully liberating most of them, said also to "EuroFora" the experienced former CLRAE President, and current vice-President of its Chamber for Local Authorities, Halvdan Skard from Norway, pointing, at his own Initiative, at this issue, as one of the "most Important" for this CLRAE  session.

    In addition, CLRAE's Bureau had decided since Monday to exceptionaly Publish the Report on the Visit to Detained Kurdish Mayors in Turkey, before starting to hold the above-mentioned Critical Debate at CLRAE's Plenary, as a matter of Urgency, from Tuesday Morning.

    Unfortunately, the anouncements made afterwards by the Turkish Government on violent events on Military outposts which reportedly followed shortly in the Hakkari regions' borders with Iraq (see infra), obviously questioned CoE's "speed" to act, particularly on an issue which remains unsolved for more than 3 Years since the 2009 arrest of many Thousands of Kurdish Elected and other Local/Regional Offcials after the latest Local Elections in Turkey..
    => With these and other Measures from the beginning of this week (see infra), CoE in substance called upon Turkey to stop undermining Democracy in Kurdish areas after massive arrests and persisting long imprisonment of elected representatives even without trial, etc., in order to allow a Democratic Alternative to the Kurdish Minority, as the best antidote to those who push for "terrorist" attacks against the Turkish Military close to Iraqi borders, that CoE also condemned, despite claims thar they might have been "provoked" by new Arrests and Military incursions of the Turkish Army, (which afterwards found, as usual, in such series of events, another opportunity to launch even more massive attacks against Kurdish rebels inside Iraqi territory)...

    Incite Ankara to Solve the Kurdish problem with Democratic means, conrtary to persisting Oppression which reportedly triggered more conflicts, showing once more the limits of Ankara's mainly Military option, appeared, indeed, as the main aim of several CoE's key Officials this week.

    The move unfolded during a strange Series of Events, spread along several Days, starting by a beginning of initial Criticism of the Massive Detention conditions of more than 3000 Elected and other Kurdish Local/Regional Officials, from Monday and Tuesday, followed by alleged "provocations" by even more arrests and afterwards even Military incusrions by the Turkish Army, and resulting towards Wednesday by reported simultaneous attacks of Kurdish rebels against Turkish "Military" targets around the border with the Kurdish Region of Iraq, which, in turn, gave an opportunity for the Turkish Government and Army to launch a Massive Attack, reportedly with Airplanes, Drones, Rockets and Tanks by many Thousands of Military troops inside Iraq.


CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, stressed that " the only effective antidote against terrorism is more Democracy and more Human rights", (as even Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan had said himself in the Past), while CLRAE's President, Brittish Liberal Keith Whitmore, speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg, agreed thatr it's obvious that the Kurdish problem cannot be dealt with by Military means, but needs a Political Solution.
Both spoke on the occasion of "attacks on Military installations in Hakkari", (Jagland), which "resulted in the deaths of at least 26 Turkish Soldiers" and "Police officers", (as Turkish Chairman of CoE's paneuropean Assembly Cavusoglou also noted), concerning "Military outposts in Hakkari in Turkey", i.e. at the Borders with Iraq, as Whitmore's relevant statement observed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Jagland from Norway also conveyed his "deepest condolences to the families of the 26 Turkish Soldiers who were killed", but also, expressed, more generally, our (CoE's) Solidarity with the People of Turkey who have been suffering from Terrorist Violence for Decades", (1984-2011).

Turkish outgoing rotating Chair of CoE's Parliamentary Assemblmy, Mevlut Cacusoglou, was more outspoken and obviously unilateral, by declaring "outraged by the Terrorist attachs in S/E Turkey which resukted in the deaths of at least 26 Turkish Soldiers". He also "condemn(edà in the strongest terms the authors of these horrendous acts, as well as (a previous) attack on (Turkish) Police Officers", also attributed by Ankara to Kurds. "Terrorists will never achieve their ends through violence and bloodshed", added Cavusoglou just after CoE started to deal with more than 3.000 arrested Elected representatives of Kurds, jailed in Turkish Prisons since the 2009 Local/Regional Elections (see supra). "They do not defend ideas, they seek only to propagate hatred and barbarity". That's why "their acts are a crime against us all", he concluded in a statement co-signed also by Ukranian Foreign Minister Gryschenko.

CLRAE's President, Keith Whitmore, also "declared, the day after the attack on the Military outposts in Hakkari in Turkey";  that, "the Congress strongly condemns the violent attack perpetrated by the PKK which led to a large number of victims. No cause can be defended by terrorist acts. In fact, this attack undermines the basic foundations of our Democratic society", he stressed.

According to various mainstrearm International Media, Kurdish rebels reportedly claimed that they would have been "provoked" by incursions of the Turkish Army and denounced the still on-going 3 Years-long Mass-arrest and Imprisonment even of some 3.000 Elected Mayors, Regional Governors, Municipal and/or Regional Counsilors, etc. since the 2009 Local and Regional Elections


+ CLRAE/PACE  : "Destructive" measures against L/R Democracy in Turkey, + "Excessive" Threshold (+10%) in National Elections
    - On the Local/Regional level, CoE's watchdog for Local and Regional Democracy, CLRAE, recently debated and voted a Resolution denouncing the Turkish Authorities for having imposed measures against "Democracy" which are "Destructive", such as the mass Arrests and Jailings of Mayors and Regional Counselors shortly after being Elected, since the beginning of 2009,  (See "EuroFora"s relevant 3/2011 NewsReport).

    + On the National level, the exclusion of any Party which doesn't get more than 10% of votes Nationwide, even if it succceeds to have more than 60% or 70% f.ex. in the Kurdish areas, practically hindering Kurds' normal representation inside the Turkish Parliament, was notoriously denounced as an "Excessive" "Threshhold", without equivalent in any other among PanEuropean CoE's 48 Member Countries, according mainly to a critical CoE Assembly's Report drafted by mainstream MEP former President of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Luc Van Den Brande, (former Prime Minister of Flanders' Federated State in Belgium, and current President of EU's Committee of Regions' body for Governance, Citizens and Public Administration).

[But the initially powerful and experienced EuroPolitician was afterwards reportedly undermined and practically pushed to quit the CoE on 2009, (focusing later on only on EU issues), following an unprecedented in CoE's History manoeuver, so that nobody else raised anew the issue of that "Excessive" Electoral Threshhold in order to criticize Ankara until now.. However, Van den Brande was exceptionaly present in Strasbourg this week, as a speaker on "Multi-Level Governance", while CoE's bodies were apparently coordinating their views on the aggravating problems of Democracy in Turkey]...
    - Thus, in a subsequent exchange of views at CLRAE's Plenary, after an intervention by a Turkish representative asking to merely condemn the Kurdish rebels' attacks on the Turkish Military outposts at the Borders with the Kurdish Region of Iraq, experienced, mainstream French representative Jean-Louis Testud,, from the Governing party UMP, (ChristianDemocrats/EPP : Center-Right), reminded to Turkey that, more or less recently, "even several European Countries like, Spain, Italy, Ireland, the UK, France, etc, faced in the past various problems of Violent Minorities who wanted to be represented (as such)".

    - F.ex. "Spain was intransigeant against Terrorism, naturally, but it started a Dialogue with the Basques, it helped them to have access to Democracy, it listened to what they had to say, and, today, it's a problem which is on the process of being solved", Testud observed, speaking  just a day before Basques' ETA anounced that it "definitively" drops armed struggle, for the 1st time in History !...

    + Also the Kurdish problem, it's a problem which can be solved, just like the Northern Ireland issue, the Basque issue,  or ours were solved", Testud pointed out optimistically :


    => Therefore, "I believe that if Turkey is really willing to solve the Kurdish problem, they will start a Dialogue with Kurds who are for Democracy, and isolate those who stand for Terrorism", he advised, (according to a schema which has become obvious af the latest National Election of June 2011 in Turkey : Comp. "EuroFora"s relevant NewsReport). In consequence, he "ask(ed) from at least 1 Member of the Turkish Delegation to strongly defend the Democratic Rights of all Elected Kurdish representatives who are Unfairly thrown into Prison !"

But in vain... : There was not any positive reply from the Turkish side.., except from the launch of a Massive Turkish Military attack which reportedly started to kill Hundreds of Kurds, mainly at the Iraqi side of the border, believed to be rebels.

Meanwhile, pro-Kurdish "Peace and Democracy Party" (BNP)  co-Chair Demirtas, strongly criticized Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, accusing him to face Kurds' recent moves for "Peace" and "Dialogue" only with "Violence" and more "Arrests", by "Hidding the Truth on Burned Villages", "Torture", etc., as well as by voting a "War memorandum" in the Turkish Parliament "2 Weeks ago", as he said, reportedly speaking during a gathering near the recent incidents at Hakkari, in Van.


(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A Final Version, more accurate and complete, is due asap).

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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.



2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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