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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE SG Free Speech Envoy to Turkey, Stoudman, to EuroFora: All issues in 2 Visits 1 Report (Web incl

CoE SG Free Speech Envoy to Turkey, Stoudman, to EuroFora: All issues in 2 Visits 1 Report (Web incl

Written by ACM
Friday, 17 June 2011


All issues related to Free Speech in Turkey are due to be checked  by the CoE at the Top, in 2 Visits and 1 Report, starting from the next few days, said CoE Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland's envoy on Freedom of Expression in Turkey, Gerard Stoudmann, speaking to "EuroFora" at the eve of his 1st Visit to Ankara, immediately after OSCE and CoE Assembly's delegations denounced "Worrying developments, especially regarding Freedom of Expression, including Media Freedom", just after observing the latest Turkish Elections, snatched for a 3rd time in a row by Tayip Erdogan, the leader of pro-Islamist Party AKP, reportedly even with More Votes than in the Past, despite a sharp 2009 Economic Drop, rising Unemployment, Inflation and public accounts' Deficit, at the same time with a notorious Deadlock in the controversial and unpopular EU - Turkey negociations.

Stoudman revealed to "EuroFora" that he's due to start visiting Turkey, for the 1st time, in the next few days, but without being able to anounce yet any particular date.
He intends to add, later on, also another, Second viisit to Ankara, eventually from September.

The aim of his mission is to gather enough first hand, original material for a Report due to be published by CoE's Secretary General, Jagland himself, "on Autumn", Stoudman told "EuroFora".

This probably means before a New Annual 2011 EU Report on Turkey's efforts to meet European Standards, including on Human Rights, is adopted, as usual, on October or November, by EU Commission, which was notoriously Critical on Freedom of Expression problems in Turkey last time (2010).


The idea to send a Personal Envoy to check what is really going on now about Freedom of Expression, Media and Journalists in Turkey, was anounced by Jagland just after meeting with Erdogan, last April 2011 in Strasbourg, to CoE's Journalists including "EuroFora", when Turkey was close to end its CoE's rotating chair period (11/2010-5/2011).

+ CoE's Head is a well known supporter of Turkey's controversial and unpopular EU bid, and had pointed at his relations with Turkish Prime Ministe Erdogan before his 2009 Election. But, immediately after he took over the Responsibiliy to head the Strasbourg-based PanEuropean Organization for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law,  he has also repeatedly declared his support to French, German and Russian Leaders, Presidents Sarkozy and Medvedev, as well as Chancellor Merkel's GeoPolitically Stategic Vision for a "Great Area" linking the EU with Countries such as Russia, Turkey, EFTA Group (Norway, Switzerland, Lichtenstein), etc., independently of any eventual EU aspirations, (See Jagland's replies to "EuroFora"s Questions on 2009, 2010, etc).


Stoudman has just given a 1st important proof of both his close and trustful personal links to CoE's Head Jagland, as well as of having acquired a unique overall view of CoE's activities related to the Warsaw 2005 Summit strategy focusing on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, by concluding a delicate initial Mission in the ..."hottest" issue inside Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organization, as Jagland's Representative for an ambitious internal "Restructuring" of its more than 60 Years aged Secretariat, which has recently started to overcome the manifold consequences of a Past Division of Europe during the former "Cold War", due to serve now almost 1 Billion People and their relations with Neighbouring Countries (from 3rd Mediterranean up to Asian States) and the rest of the World, in the New GeoPolitical a.o. realities of 21st Century.
     - "When you'll go to Turkey, please visit also our f. Collegue", (an Elected representative from the Kurdish areas of Turkey, member of CLRAE)" who is still in Prison" (since 2009), Stoudman was asked by Jean-Claude Frecon, experienced vice-President of CoE's PanEuropean watchdog on Local and Regional Democracy (CLRAE), and Chairman of its Chamber of Local Authorities, a Socialist French Senator.


    CLRAE's latest Session in Strasbourg, debated and adopted a Resolution on Turkey during March 2011, which pactically denounces the "Destruction of Democracy" in Local/Regional level, by the "Disproportionate" decision, taken by the Turkish Authorities shorty after the 2009 Local/Regional Elections (largely won by pro-Kurdish Candidates, massively Elected in Turkey's mainly Kurdish areas at the South-East, to systematically prosecute, arrest and throw to Prison some 2 or 3 Thousand People just for statements that they allegedly made, (See relevant "EuroFora"s previous NewsReport).
    + Meanwhile, "EuroFora" asked Stoudman if, in addition to classic "hard" problems on Press Freedom notoriously existing since long in Turkey, he intended, or not, to include in his New Mission also some controversial Draft Laws, recently denounced by various Popular Demonstrations, to reportedly submit Citizens' Access to Internet to preliminary checks of their Personal Data, (f.ex.. requiring an ID and a Password just to connect to the Web, etc.), that the Turkish AKP Government had reportedly prepared to start imposing from August or later-on.


    Such new issues have recently become of growing importance, particularly after the still on-going Popular Uprisings, with large aspirations for Democracy and  Social Development, in all other 3rd Mediterranean Countries, from Morocco up to Syria, with various repercussions, from Government-agreed deep Reforms up to Revolts, etc, where the World Wide Web is notoriously used by most Actors among Citizens' various movements, as well as even in the recent, 2011 "G-8" Heads of State/Government Summit, chaired by French President Sarkozy, last May at Deauville, (See related "EuroFora"s NewsReports from Paris and Deauville).

    - "All issues related to the Freedom of Expression", (protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights), are normally included in my Mission, replied Stoudman to "EuroFora"s question in a crystal-clear positive way, obviously confirming the inclusion also of Internet-related Article 10 Press/Speech Freedom cases.


On the contrary, "EuroFora" didn't raise now with Stoudman the issue of Adali's Murder case, the dissident Turkish Cypriot Journalist who was killed with 5 Bullets at his Head out of his Family Home in the Territories of Cyprus Occupied by Ankara's Military, resulting in a 2005 Condemnation by ECHR of Turkey's failure to make any efficient Investigation to find and punish those Responsible, which was astonishingly "closed" on June 2010 inside CoE's Committee of Ministers immediately after the Turkish Government assumed the Responsibility of the Rotating Chair of its Secretariat, despite the fact that Turkey hadn't made any progress at all in that enquiry, contrary to its obligaion to implement ECHR's judgement. (See earlier "EuroFora"s NewsReports on Adali's case, compared with that of Gongadze, where, on the contrary, Ukranian Authorities show a will to accomplish their duty).


     But CoE Head's envoy should certainly have the means to be easily informed of Relevant Press Articles on important issues concerning his new area of responsibilities, particularly when they are written in English and published among the few long-time EU/CoE Press Correspondents based in Strasbourg as "EuroFora"'s co-founder, (+ 17 Years : +9/1993-2011).
    In fact, CoE's Head, Jagland's move on Freedom of Expression in Turkey can be based not only on the above mentioned agreement with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, after so many serious Concerns expressed on the matter by the EU, CoE, OSCE and other European, PanEuropean or International Organizations, but also, eventually, on the Powers that gives to CoE's Secretary General the Article No 52 of CoE's Statute, according to which, the S.G. of the PanEuropean Organization may ask any Member State (or States) to reply in questions concerning the way it intends to fulfill its obligations and commitments undertaken vis a vis CoE's principles. (An important institutional Power, which has already been used, in recent years, f.ex. for enquiries in all CoE's Member States, about rumours of CIA "Secret Flights", "redditions", "secret Prisons", etc., unofficially covered under "anti-terrorism" alleged suspicions, etc).

    But, as even USA Media critically denounced this week, obviously, a CoE move on Freedom of Expression particularly in Turkey seems more and more necessary today, because various actors "raise alarms, complaining of Mr. Erdogan’s abrasive, confrontational style, Islamist roots and thin-skinned authoritarianism", while even "the OSCE says Turkey has the Highest Number of Imprisoned Journalists (57) in the World — more than Russia, China or Iran !"...  


    Indeed, according to OSCE/PACE's official Conclusions, concerning "the 12 June 2011 Elections to the Turkish Grand National Assembly...  there were some Worrying developments, especially regarding Freedom of Expression, including Media freedom", (See earlier "EuroFora"s NewsReport).

- “To fully live up to its Democratic Commitments, Turkey must do More", pointed out the Head of OSCE's Delegation and OSCE Assembly's vice-President, Pia Christmas-Moeller (Denmark). -“Free expression and a Media Environment in which Reporters are Free from political Pressure and Intimidation, are Critical for Turkey", the Top MEP warned.

- In particular, "some elements of the Legal framework continue to Constrain activities of the Media and political Parties, by Limiting Freedom of Speech".

+ In addition, "the 10 percent threshold for political party representation in Parliament – the Highest in the OSCE region – remains one of the central issues that Limit the Representative nature of the legis-lature. "

- Moreover, Turkish "Government Control over influential Media groups allegedly resulted in Biased reporting and self-Censorship".

- The latter is an understandable consequence of the Fact that "Observers noted the Detention and ongoing Investigations of more than 50 Journalists in Turkey", OSCE and CoE criticized.

"Limiting freedom of the media is a violation of the 1990 Copenhagen Document and a host Council of Europe documents", they warned Turkish pro-Government MEPs.

CoE's Assembly has recently adopted texts making National Delegations of MEPs Responsible for their Government's failure to implement ECHR's Judgements, and this is due to be further discussed and voted also next week in Strasbourg at a Report drafted by the President of PACE's Legal/Human Rights Committee, Christos Purgurides from Cyprus (ChristianDemocrats/EPP) on Thursday.

"Putting journalists under the permanent Threat of Criminal lawsuits", resulted, according to "many observers, including the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media", by a "ruling" of "2 May 2011", by which, "the Turkish Constitutional Court amended the Press Law to extend .... filing Criminal cases against Journalists from 2 Months to 8 Years".

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan astonished many CoE observers, last April in Strasbourg, when he replied to critical questions on Press Freedom Violations in Turkey, by merely boasting that he had been, himself, persecuted in Courts and Jailed (for 2 Months), but afterwards created a new Political Party, won elections, and got the top political job.. I.e. practically challenging Dissidents, many of whom are systematically submited to Harassing Attacks, Censorship, Criminal Prosecution, many Years of Imprisonment, and/or killed, without the instigators of their Murderers ever found until recently ! (Comp. f. ex. Turkey's condemnation by ECHR even in the famous Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink's cold-blood 2007 Murder, in a Judgement taking into account all developments in the investigation until it was published in Strasbourg at the Autumn of 2010, revealing several astonishing Facts on the behavior of Turkish Authorities vis a vis Murderers of Critical Journalists, obviously able to provoke a Chilling effect, Intimidation and/or Self-Censorship during the crucial following Months at the eve of June 2011 Election...

ECHR's Revelations on a scandalous treatment of the Hrant Dink Murder case by Turkish Authorities came shortly after Turkey managed to "close" CoE Committee of Ministers' examination of Ankara's duty to implement ECHR's Judgement which had condemned her for totaly failing to make any efficient Investigation on the cold blood Murder of Dissident Turkish Cypriot Journalist Kutlu Adali, shot with 5 Bullets at his Head in front of his Family Home in the Territories of Cyprus Occupied by Ankara's Army. (See earlier "EuroFora"s Publications on that case).
 - "On 2 May 2011 the Turkish Constitutional Court amended the Press Law to extend the statute of limitations for filing criminal cases against journalists from two months to eight years. This ruling has been cited by many observers, including the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, as put-ting journalists under the permanent threat of criminal lawsuits.

+ In addition, "Many stakeholders raised Questions about re-markable Changes in the Number of registered Voters in recent years, and the printing of a Dispro-portionally high number of Excess ballot Papers", OSCE/PACE critically observe, (obviously because all this might have been abused for any kind of Mass Fraud), apparently without getting any convincing Answer.. .

- "There was Heavy police presence and Tensions in parts of the South East, as well as isolated reports of physical Attacks".

+ Moreover, "there were initial Problems with the Registration of some Independent Candidates", merely notes the OSCE/PACE delegation's rapporteur, apparently ignoring the Fact that even a Child (Orenc) was reportedly killed by Bullets during an attack by Turkish State Agents against Demonstrators protesting for the Exclusion of 12 Independent Candidates in the Kurdish areas.

A Swedish and a Danish MEP from CoE and OSCE's Assemblies, Kerstin Lundgren and Pia Christmas-Moeller, headed the joint Delegations.


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



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Sarkozy and Merkel : June 2009 solution to May 2005 "NO" ?

 - Will French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel live up from June 2009 to their obvious Historic European mission to revitalize, and re-launch the "European Dream", after the series of 3 "NO" since May 2005 in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, by renewing, and changing the EU with fresh stimulus, big horizons, and values attractive for EU Citizens ?

Whatever views anyone might have, it's a Fact that, recently, EU's political spectrum didn't produce other more charismatic and popular EU leaders than Merkel and Sarkozy, starting from September 2005 and May 2007, respectively.

This trend was confirmed, in one way or another, both during the German EU presidency in 2007 (shared by Merkel with the SPD), and mainly during the French EU Presidency in 2008, (with Sarkozy "free" to move).

The positive 2009 EU Polls are a natural consequence :

- Both with 72% Sarkozy and Merkel are considered by EU Citizens to be "the most Influential" leaders in Europe, by far.

- They are the only EU political leaders to attract a Majority of "Positive" views by EU Citizens, (Merkel over 60%, Sarkozy over 50%, particularly in the continent).

- 60% of EU Citizens find the 2008 French EU Presidency "Good", (and the satisfaction grows up to 67,5% in continental Europe).

The Poll was made by "OpinionWay" in big EU countries as Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, (with the only exception of France), from 26 to 28 May 2009.


But the most important is that both Franco-German leaders seem willing to, at last, really start serious business on EU's indispensable renovation and Renaissance from 2009 : Year of crucial EU and German Elections.

Therefore, this time, the joint European move by Sarkozy and Merkel, which just published a common Franco-German Manifesto, aims to stimulate aspirations and action not only in their respective countries, but also in many other EU "partners", as they say.

Both on EU economy, social values and scientifico-technologic research, as well as on Turkey's controversial EU bid, obviously incompatible with a popular Political Europe, whose Citizens can find a collective Identity and popular Values, they have already started to magnetize various growing voices accross the European landscape :

"Today, more than ever, it' time for action", they stress from the outset.

Facing "an unprecedented Global financial and economic Crisis", "Europeans must get resolutely involved if they want for the World which is being built to meet their Values of Liberty, Solidarity and Justice".

"That's what we want" and "propose to our Partners" :

* "A strong Europe, able to protect us" :

- "We refuse a Bureaucratic EU, which mecanically applies burdensome rules and is afraid of change. We want a European Union which listens what Citizens have to say, which innovates, stimulates".

- "We want a strong and united EU in the World, while also respecting its Member States' Diversity", which "brings Courageous Replies to the Questions of our Times, ensuring our Prosperity :  

This implies to "favor Research and Innovation", "Economic Coordination", to "develop real Policies on Immigrationn, Energy, Defence, and modernise  common policies, particularly Agriculture".

*  "EU must bring immediate replies to the Global Crisis".

- "Lawless liberalism failed". "The Model we want is that of a Responsible Market Economy, which favors Enterpreneurs and Workers, above Speculators ;  Long-term Investment, over immediate profiits".

- "We appeal upon the EU to take, from June, the first decisions to ensure a real European Regulation of Financial Markets, based on coordination and cooperation". "On speculative funds, on fiscal heavens, CEO's and financial operators' earnings, EU must give the example".

- "We call to change the rules of accounts, which are important for our Economy's revival : The competent normative authorities must take action". "The issue of a sufficient Credit offer is of central importance for our Economy". "We don't accept that, during this Financial Crisis, the European Banks' capacity to lend money might be unjustly reduced by Capital's requirements and accountant's rules

* "During the German and French Presidencies, EU has resoçlutely prepared itself for the fight against Global Warming... EU is the 1st and only area in the World to have adopted a package of ambitious and legally binding rules to comply with International Aims"

- "We have now to convince our Friends and Partners, to get involved, in order to atteint, next December at Copenhagen, a Global Agreement worthy of whay is at stake. Our closer ally, the US, but also other big industrial countries, must commit themselves with the same force as the Europeans".

"Green Growth is a Chance ... and an opportunity to create jobs turned towards the Future. Europe must be a leader".

- But, at the same time, we must ensure that our companies remain competitive in the World. The ambitious European involvements on Climat must not lead into a position where EU industry might become a Victim of Unfair Competition. Climat protection and Competitvity must go together. If our International partners refuse to associate themselves to our efforts, we are determined to take measures to protect European Industry"

* "Europe must be more ambitious for its Industry" : "It must favor the emergence of strong European enterprises at a Global level".

- "As long as an International mechanism" to "monitor Public Aids at WTO level, and hinder 3rd Countries to give abusive subsidies to their enterprises, provoking unfair competition", is "not yet set up, we must consider Transitory European Solutions".

* "The current Public Debt is too heavy... We must head anew towards sound public finance, as soon as we'd have passed the crucial stage in this crisis".

* Last, but not least :  "Europe must play a top-level role in the World"

- "For that purpose,  it needs efficient Institutions. That's why we need Lisbon Treaty". "The 27 Member States decided, last December (2008) that the Treaty should enter into force before the end of this year (2009)". To obtain that, June EU Council must agree "on the Guarantees for Ireland".

- But, "to be able to act, EU needs Borders. An Enlargment without Limits is not possible", Sarkozy and Merkel stressed in an obvious reference to Turkey, etc.

- "In order to be strong, Europe must assume its Values and its Identity". "Human Rights .. are at the basis of our commitment for a Peaceful Development accross the World".

- "For that purpose, we shall strengthen our common Defence and Security policy".

* "We are ready to contribute to activate the EU towards the realisation of these aims, with our EU Partners".

"In order to succeed", Europe  "needs the active involvment of all, starting by Citizens themselves. That's why the June 7 rendez-vous is important", and "we are calling all Europeans to vote".

"We are convinced that, if Europe wants, Europe can", they conclude.

Precisely : - What can better forge "Europe's Will" than a "European Consciousness" emerging from political, democratic struggles to face Global Challenges, and open big New Horizons, including by crystal-clear Public Debates, with active EU Citizens' involvement, before the most important EU Decisions affecting People's lives ?

Precisely what "EuroFora"s project warns since 1997-2007, and unprecedented Majority Abstentions, since 1999-2004, added to 3 "NO" to EU Referenda in 2005 and 2007, proved meanwhile..

Let's hope that the Time wasted by some scandalous anti-European and anti-Democratic obstacles of the Past, will stimulate faster, simplified but substantial and persistent, efficient action.-


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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