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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Chair, Greek Minister Varvitsiotis: East-Med. Tension is due to Use of Military Force by Turkey

CoE Chair, Greek Minister Varvitsiotis: East-Med. Tension is due to Use of Military Force by Turkey

Автор ACM
Вторник, 15 Сентябрь 2020

 
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- There is No Dialogue with a Gun on the Table and War Threats, and the Reason for which there is Tension in Eastern Mediterranean's Energy Resources' Hotspot Nowadays, is Turkey's abuse of Military Force, Instead of Peaceful Negotiations, clearly Denounced CoE's President-in-office and Greek Minister for European Affairs, Miltiades Varvitsiotis, who was invited as Keynote Speaker at the PanEuropean Organisation of Strasbourg Assembly's Standing Committee, (of Equivalent Status as its Plenary), in Reply to Critical Questions raised by Turkish MPs.

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 - At First, the rotating Chairman of CoE's Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law (for the Period of 7 to 11/2020), Observed the Fact that, as a matter of General Principle ,"CoE is Not Dealing with Eastern Mediterranean Tensions".

 + Moreover, "there are Other Fora where we can Discuss that": F.ex., "We Expressed Our Views", Together "With Turkish Foreign Minister Mr. Cavusoglou, at EU Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Last Week" in Brussels, he noted, (pointing at a Meeting where Many MEPs appeared quite Critical vis a vis the Turkish MFA in this case).

- However, "Although" that's true, "I'd like to Reply to the Question (raised by a Turkish MP Today) on those Tensions", he Accepted.

>>> -In Fact, "the Tensions in Eastern Mediterranen are Not Provoked by Peaceful Events", Varvitsiotis observed. On the Contrary, "They are Provoked by the use of Military Force !"

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  - "And", particularly, "the Presence of a Great part of Turkish Naval Fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean, Escorting an (Oil/Gas) Exploratory Vessel", (Often, Notoriously, inside EU Members Cyprus or Greece's EEZ) "is, definitively, Not a Sign of promoting Stability, Security and a Peaceful Way of Negotiating with Partners in Good Will...", he Criticized.

- On the Contrary, -"We have Urged (Ankara) to Refrain from Unilateral Acts, in Areas that are Contested", (as, f.ex., illegal Search and/or Drilliing for Gas/Oil in Non-Delimitated Zones, Revendicated by Other Countries, which is tantamount with Violating the International Law of the Sea), "and to Go Back to the Table of Dialogue", Varvitsiotis invited.

- "This will remain Greece's Position, throughout this whole Period, Because We Believe that, with Partners and Neighbours, we Have to Discuss, and Not to Go at outrage...

- So that, Turkey "CanNot come Back to the Table of Discussion by having ...a fully Loaded Gun on the Table, and a Premisse, from the Other Side, that Either You Agree with Me, Or we Go into War !"   

 - "This is Not the Kind of Dialogue that We Expect. We Expect a Dialogue that comes With a Refrain from using a Beligerant Tone, and, Definitively, From using Military Means, as a way To Push for the Outcome that the Other Partner Wants".

- "Therefore, we Welcome all the Initiatives, from the EU, from Member States like Germany, from the USA, (etc) that Search for DesEscalation, and Return on a Table of Discussions", he Concluded.

Turkey has Already Chassed, by Bullying Threats from its WarShips, an Italian Drilling Ship of ENI, which Peacefully acted in Agreement with Cyprus' Government, inside that EU Member's EEZ, located Between the Southern Coasts of the Island and Egypt, one of the Countries with which Cyprus has Signed relevant Sea Zones' Delimitation Treaties, (as, inter alia, Also an Explicit Video, Audio-Registrations, and Ships' Movements' capture by Satellites, Clearly Showed earlier, During an EU Heads of State/Government Summit in Brussels).

But, Ankara, on the Contrary, did Not Dare make Any such Military Bullying Attempt vis a vis ...USA's or France's Drilling Ships there, which Operated also in Agreement with the legitimate Government of Cyprus...

But it has, Many Times, attempted to Block and/or Threatend with "NAFTEX" for Turkish WarShips so-called "Military Exercises", various Parts of EU Member Cyprus' EEZ, (near which it has Already Started to Find Important Energy Resources, as well as Egypt and Israel, etc., With whom Nicosia has Signed relevant Delimitation Agreements).

In Addition, Turkey has Notoriously Send, Numerous Times, its own Drilling Ships provocatively Inside EU Members' Greece and Cyprus' EEZ, escorted by a Heavy presence of Turkish WarShips and Military Planes, Both at the Mediterranean and in the Aegean Sea.

Last, but not least, various Ankara Government's Top Officials have Often abused of Multiple Provocations, Beligerant Rhetorics, and Even Brutal War Threats, especially Against Greece, in this same regard, (one of the Latest being, f.ex., the Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar's reported Call for "Greece to Shut Up", or, "Otherwise, ...Become a <<Mezes>> (be Eaten as Meat) !"

While, almost at the Same Time, just Last Week-End, Turkish President Tayip Erdogan "Warned" the French President Emmanuel Macron, "Not to Search Quarell with Turkey" (sic !), Accusing France for alleged "Massacres", and Even Approaching Dangerously ISIL's Deadly Terrorists' Propaganda accross Africa's Sahel, by Slandering a French and EU Anti-Islamist Terrorism presence at "Mali", since 2013...

They were Both Reacting Against a Call, by a joint Declaration of "MED-7" Summit's Heads of State/Governments (all EU Member States, linked to the Mediterranean), these Days at Corsica, (See : ..., etc), to "Reply to Turkey's Aggressions in the Mediterranean with All adequate Means of the EU", Unless it Really Commits to a Peaceful Dialogue and Legal ways to settle such Issues.

That "MED-7" Move came at the Eve of EU's Forthcoming Exceptional 27 Heads of State/Governmet Summit on September 24-25 in Brussels, mainly due to deal with Turkey's Behavior in Eastern Mediterranean, Aegan Sea and elsewhere vis a vis European interests, on the Occasion of which, Ankara has been Repeatedly Warned of Sanctions, unless it Sincerely Engages in a really Peaceful Dialogue for Solutions according also to International Law, (See:http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/med7summitincorsica.html).

- Meanwhile, in Parallel, the President of EU Parliament's Biggest Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Manfred Weber from Germany, stressed Today, that "We Stand with Greece and Cyprus ! Europe should stay United and keep the Pressure on Erdogan in the EasternMediterranean. We will Not be Blackmailed at the the Border, we will Not be Provoked at Sea. We doN't want Conflict, But We will Not Back Away".

 

(../..)

("Draft-News")

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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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