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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE slams Turkey for Silencing Human Rights Defenders (incl. by Smear via Leaks Hidden to Victims)

CoE slams Turkey for Silencing Human Rights Defenders (incl. by Smear via Leaks Hidden to Victims)

Written by ACM
Sunday, 23 February 2020
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- The PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, CoE, in a rare move, openly Denounced Turkey's blatant "Silencing of Human Rights Defenders", Journalists, Lawyers, even Judges, etc., by various Oppressive Measures, including, recently, even "Smear" by Leaks of official documents ...Hidden to the Victims !

 

Already, the Latest Report by Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic, Denounced the fact that the "Justice System", (to which refers also a Letter of CoE's new Secretary General, Marija Buric : See Infra), "with Numerous Long-standing Problems", "has Worsened by the Addition of New Concerns". that "Result in a level of ... Arbitrariness, which enDangers the very Essence of the Rule of Law". 

But a 2nd Chapter stresses "the Importance of civil society Organisations (NGOs) and human rights Defenders, (incl. Journalists, Lawyers, etc), in a Democratic Society", and "observes that a Series of Negative Developments, ... have created a Chilling effect and contributed to an Increasingly Hostile environment for Human Rights Defenders in Turkey". 

This includes "legislative, regulatory, administrative and procedural Obstacles Affecting civil society Organisations", an "Absence of transparent and objective Criteria and procedures regarding public Funding, Consultation of and Collaboration with civil society Organisations, as well as for Inspections", and "Concern about an increasingly Virulent and Negative political Discourse Targeting and Labelling human rights Defenders as terrorists, which frequently leads to Biased actions", added to "a Widespread pattern of Judicial actions Targeting human rights defenders, which amount to a Misuse of criminal proceedings to Silence them and to Discourage civil society Engagement".


Concerning the "Justice System", the Comissioner pointed out that "the Turkish Judiciary has been at the Heart of most human rights Violations in Turkey for a very Long Time, either by Failing to Rectify violations committed by the Turkish Authorities, or by Causing these Violations directly". Thus, "that at the

end of 2018, the ECtHR had delivered 3 148 judgments concerning Turkey finding at least one violation of the European Convention on Human Rights... Of these, 919 specifically concerned Violations of the right to a Fair Trial, 755 related to the right to personal Liberty and security, 603 concerned Length of proceedings, and 279 the right to an effective Remedy". 

 

- "Reforms invariably Failed to provide long-term solutions to prevent human rights violations. At best, their effects were Short-lived, and the judiciary ultimately Reverted to its Old patterns". 

 

+ Moreover, Recently, it "has undergone major Upheavals, notably following the attempted Coup d’état of 15 July 2016", "accompanied by a general deterioration in the situation regarding human rights and Increasingly Acute Concerns regarding the Erosion of the Independence of the Turkish judiciary, expressed by Numerous bodies of the CoE, including the Commissioner’s Office, the Venice Commission and the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO)". 

 


Among others, f.ex., Turkey's  "High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK)", i.e. "the main organ tasked with ..."Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Disciplinary proceedings",  "as observed by the Venice Commission", has "Powers" that "are not only Greater than in most other European countries, but they have also been Traditionally interpreted and applied in such a manner as to exert great Influence ..., in a Politicised manner that has been quite Csontroversial”.  Already, a previous CoE HR Commissioner's Report since 2012, "identified various Problems, such as ...that the Minister of Justice nominally Presided over the body", "the Minister’s Undersecretary was a natural Member, and ... the Executive power had sought to exert Influence in the Election process and had succeeded".

 

+ "These Concerns have been largely overshadowed by far More Serious ones, as a result of new constitutional Changes introduced in 2017", after which, "All the members of the HSK (can) be Appointed either by the President of the Republic or the Parliament, withOut a procedure guaranteeing the Involvement of All political parties and interests", "in clear Contradiction with European Standards which foresee that at least Half of the members ...should be Elected by Judges among their Peers ...with respect for Pluralism". Given also the fact that, "the New Constitutional System" of Turkey "gives the President of the Republic very extensive Powers, drastically Limits Checks ..., and No longer requires ...to be ..Neutral", CoE's Venice Commissio has Denounced "a Dangerous step Backwards", and "Dangers of degeneration ...towards an Authoritarian and Personal Regime".  

 

+ In Addition, already "since 2013", Turkey practiced "Higher Numbers of Forced reLocations of members of the judiciary, as well as Investigations, Suspensions and Dismissals". 

 

++ Moreover, "this ...Worrying situation changed considerably for the Worse ... after ... 2016 : almost 1/3 of the judiciary, around 4.000 Judges and prosecutors, were Dismissed ..., based on Extraordinary powers granted to the HSYK and high courts" : "...these Decisions only contained a universal, Stereotypical and Non-individualised reasoning, to which Lists of 2.845 and 543 Names were simply Appended", while "the Majority of the judges dismissed ...were subsequently Detained ... for membership in a Terrorist organisation" (sic !), and "the Emergency Powers underpinning the Dismissals" were "Extended .. for a Further 3 Years ...on 2018", so that "one of the most basic guarantees of judicial Independence is effectively Suspended until July 2021",  Mijatovic denounced. 

 

+++ Meanwhile, as she found during her 2019 Visit to Turkey, "9.914 judges and prosecutors had been Recruited After the declaration of the state of Emergency". But, "already in 2012", a previous CoE's Report Criticized "several Problems" "including including the fact that the Majority of members of the board conducting the Interviews for the Candidate judges were representatives of the Executive" power. In Addition, "during the state of Emergency" (2016-2019), the "Recruitement procedure ...became even more Opaque and exclusively Controlled by the Ministry of Justice", while "Loyalty to the Ruling coalition  appears to have become a Key criterion for selection", as "recruitment Criteria were substantially Relaxed", and "many ...judges were Arbitrarily Moved after delivering controversial judgments upholding the Human rights", replaced by "judges with known Biases being Appointed to ongoing Politically sensitive Cases", (etc). 

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At the same time, "Serious Problems and shortcomings continue (on 2020) to affect the Turkish Criminal Code (TCC), the Anti-Terrorism Law, and the Code of Criminal Procedure (TCCP)", (f.ex. on "Public Incitement to Hatred or Hostility", on "Insulting the President of the Republic", on "Degrading the Turkish Nation", etc), that Venice Commission had Denounced on 2016 to "allow for Excessive Sanctions", and be "applied too Widely, Penalising conduct Protected under the ECHR and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights", Milatovic (who served also as OSCE's Envoy for Freedom of Expression), observes Nowadays. 

 

And Part of the Issue of "overBroad interpretation by the Turkish judiciary of what constitutes Terrorism, or Membership of an armed criminal organisation", is also "the Long-standing Problem of Impunity and Lack of effective Investigations into alleged Violations of Human rights by (Turkish) Security Forces", already "highlighted time and time again by the Commissioner’s Office", and by "numerous findings of human rights Violations by the ECtHR", she reminded.

 

+ In this Context, "the Erosion of the Independence of the judiciary in Recent years, fostered a climate of Fear, ...boosting Conformism, and Exacerbating the ...tendency to Punish persons who are perceived to be Against the Government", while "portraying Human rights Defenders as Enemies of the state or Terrorist sympathisers, Targeting them both as a group and Personally". 

 

=> "As an indication of the Scale of the issue", f.ex.,  "according to official Statistics there have been 43.553 Convictions to Prison sentences under Article 314 of the TCC concerning Membership of armed criminal organisations, and 2.280 under the Anti-Terrorism Law in 2018"... 

 

F.ex., "the Prosecutions ...against <<Academics for Peace>> and the Convictions of members of the executive board of the Turkish <<Medical Association>>, whose calls for Peace were Interpreted as Propaganda for Terrorism, provide a good illustration of this development" : Indeed,  "over 700 Academics faced Criminal Proceedings in this connection and ...around 170 were sentenced to Prison terms of between 15 and 30 Months", while, even if "the CC appears to have Rectified the situation" much Later, on 2019, nevertheless, this "Ended the Careers of Hundreds of Academics, and created a strong Chilling effect; which will be very Difficult to reverse"... 

 

+ But such "approach is not limited to the Catch-All use made of the crime of Propaganda for a terrorist organisation", as it "significantly Expands the LImits of the offence of Membership of a criminal Organisation, in the sense that increasingly Harmless acts are being considered as Evidence" : F.ex., "In the case of the <<Cumhuriyet>> Newspaper", a perceived deviation from the ...original Editorial Line", or "the use of a Smartphone Application called “Bylock”, deposits in Bank Asya, and links with or using the services of (certain) Schools or Hospitals", (etc). So that "Detention, the Evidence for which was was solely based on Bylock use and deposits in Bank Asya", was Condemned as a "Violation" of "Civil and Political Rights" by the "UN Human Rights Committee" on 2019. Similarly, on "the Gazi events' Case", ("remarkable by the Absence of objective Indicators of Criminal activity"), "“a compilation of ...long, indiscriminate Transcripts of many Wire-Tapped Telephone Conversations, some of which reportedly bear Little Relevance", or "indiscriminate listing of various, Lawful acts, including Contacts with the (CoE's Human Rights) Commissioner" (sic !), "suggests that (Turkish) Prosecutors can use perfectly Lawful acts to justify the Prosecution and Detention of a person, if they wish to do so"..., something that the ECHR recently Condemned in Strasbourg, Mijatovic Warned. 

 

In such Cases, the Turkish "prosecutors and courts Impugn a criminal Motive or presumed Intention on the suspect First, Before collecting or examining the available Evidence, Rather than going From Evidence Towards Guilt", so that "actions which should be considered Lawful in a democratic society, including statements and acts Protected under the ECHR, are re-Interpreted as circumstantial Evidence used to prove Criminal intent",  with "a clear Risk of resulting in Judgments of Intentions (“procès d’intention”), where No amount of material Evidence can Prove the person’s Innocence"... 


=> "As a Result" of all that, "while many of the Long-standing Concerns regarding the application of criminal law provisions Continue to apply", in Addition, "the situation significantly Deteriorated in Recent years" : ... Unlawful interferences with rights and freedoms enshrined in the ECHR Expanded, both in scale and scope", while "it has become virtually Impossible to Assess ...whether a Legitimate act ...will be re-Interpreted as Criminal activity by Turkish prosecutors", CoE's Commissioner concluded. 

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>>> This so More Dangerous, that "a Serious, Long-Standing Concern" of the CoE, concerning "the use of Detention" in Turkey, "shows a consistent Pattern in the practice of the Turkish judiciary, Deviating from international and European Human rights Standards, including Premature Arrests, Insufficiently Motivated initial pre-trial detention decisions, serious Deficiencies in the Review procedures concerning the continuation of detention, as well as the Length of detention", Mijatovic Denounced. Such "Problematic practices, "include (i) the Lack of Restraint by prosecutors in initiating Proceedings, ...(ii) Arrests of suspects occurring at a very Early stage of the investigations, leading to long Detentions Before ...Indictment; (iii) ....Defective Reasoning of detention decisions, and particularly...the Automaticity of those Extending detention; (iv) Long periods spent in Detention", (etc), she Criticized, while, Nowadays, "a large Number of Cases from Turkey regarding Detentions is Pending before the ECtHR" in Strasbourg. 

 

=> Meanwhile, "the problem of Insufficient Reasoning, based on Stereotypical formulations" has Extended even Further, "Particularly in Cases attracting Political interest – or where the Executive gives a clear signal", so that "the ECtHR found, for the 1st Time in a case against Turkey, that continued Detention had been used primarily with the ulterior Purpose of stifling pluralism and Limiting Freedom of Political Debate" !, (in Judgements of 11/2018 and 12/2019). 

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+ Morever, "a New development ...is that highly Confidential Information from the Investigation file seems to be used frequently in Smear campaigns" against the Victims, "in pro-Government Media, Despite the fact that the same information is Unavailable" to them... 

 

This Fact indicates that the Real "Motivation" of the Turkish State "is the Restriction of Defence Rights, ..., Rather than ... the Investigation", CoE's Comissioner Denounced. 

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>>> In Front of all these Problems, the alleged "Remedy" of the 2012 Established "Constitutional Court" in Turkey, raises serious "Doubts" Nowadays, Mijatovic observed, (while Many Individual Applications from various Victims of Human Rights Violations are still Often Droped by the ECHR in Strasbourg, until the have used, previously, that Time-Consuming procedure) : 

 

- Indeed, "there are currently 4 interconnected Issues casting Doubt on the Effectiveness of the individual application procedure to the Constitutional Court as a Remedy for human rights violations in Turkey" : (1) the Tardiness of the CC ..., (2) the lower Courts’ highly Problematic attitude" against the CC, (3) the extraordinary Burden ...put on the CC, and (4) finally Recent judgments of the CC, in which it appears to be Departing from its previous, Convention-compliant approach", she Warned.

 

+ And, concerning another alleged "Reform" recently prepared by Turkey, CoE's HR Commissioner critically observes that "the 1st Judicial Reform Strategy published in 2009", already "had No significant Effect on the main Problems outlined above in the long term", while, also "Regreting" the Fact that, Nowadays, "the 1st Package of Reforms adopted by the Turkish Parliament in the framework of this Strategy in October 2019, Falls Short of the decisive and far-reaching reforms Urgently Needed in Turkey" (illustrating that by a List of Concrete Examples)... 

-----------------------------------------------------

=> CoE Commissioner Mijatovic chose to Conclude by pointing at "Human Rights Defenders, and Civil Society" : 

 

- "Human rights Defenders and NGOs play a Critical Role in a Democratic society, in making national Authorities Accountable", in "Assisting Victims of human rights violations and helping them ... access ...Redress", so that "they are an Essential resource for improving People’s Lives and the Peaceful functioning of Society", to the point that, "according to the caselaw of the ECHR ..., when an NGO draws Attention to Matters of Public Interest, it is exercising a Public Watchdog role, of Similar Importance to that of the Press". 

 

>>> But, "already for several Years", there, "have been ...Concerns about the increasingly Challenging situation faced by Turkish civil society and human rights defenders in carrying out their legitimate activities", while "this situation has steadily Deteriorated in Recent years", in particular after the State of Emergency since 2016, and has "Not Improved" not even after it was lifted on 2018... 

This cpncerns not only "the Ragulatory Framework affecting Civil Society", and "Lack of Transparency" in "Government Funding and Consultations", 

 

=> but also various "Attacks targeting human rights Defenders, ranging from the Intimidation and Stigmatisation ...in political discourse, to Judicial actions Targeting them". 


As regards "INTIMIDATION AND REPRESSION OF .... HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS,  POLITICAL DISCOURSE AND SMEAR CAMPAIGNS", CoE's PanEuropean Commissioner is DEEPLY CONCERNED that Turkish Officials, ...regularly Target human rights Defenders ..., frequently Labelling them as Terrorists and public Enemies" ! 

 

Indeed, "there have been Many such Attacks Targeting civil society Activists and their legitimate activities, in particular by suggesting that (Medias) Reporting on human rights Violations allegedly perpetrated by the Authorities, furthers the aims of Terrorist organisations and is by extension an Attack on the Turkish State". Mijatovic observed. 

 

=> "Increasingly", Turkish "Government representatives and pro-government media seem to be Targeting certain Human rights Defenders, in a Concerted and Virulent manner, in what could be described as Smear Campaigns and considered Defamatory, occasionally amounting to Hate speech", CoE's Commissioner Denounced. 

 

F.ex., "one of the most noteworthy of these Smear campaigns concerned the human rights Defender Osman Kavala", "mainly based on information Leaked from a Secret investigation File, ... subsequently taken over by Officials in public statements". + "Numerous Statements by the Turkish Minister of the Interior", also "publicly Labelled persons as Terrorists Before any judicial decision establishing guilt, in Disregard of the principle of presumption of Innocence, which is particularly Worrying coming from the hierarchical Superior of law Enforcement forces".

 

=> "Official Statements referred to above do Not remain only at the level of Discourse, but lead to concrete Repressive Actions by the Authorities, sometimes Immediately", she Warned. 

 

- F.ex., they "Started to Prevent" them "from Visiting certain Areas of the Country", "following a Statement by the (Turkish) President ..., whereby" those "Publishing Reports on the Human Rights situation Needed to be "Countered"" (sic !)... 

 

+ And the Turkish "Judiciary seems ...increasingly Influenced..., by launching Proceedings against ... Human Rights Defenders, immediately After Statements by Politicians, or Defamatory articles published in Pro-Government newspapers". F.ex., "for the ECHR, ...Kavala's Detention pursued the ulterior Purpose of Reducing him to Silence". 

 

=> "Such Smear campaigns ... led to ...<Cease its operations in Turkey, due to “an increasingly Hostile political environment and a number of Baseless Accusations”, further Depriving .. of Funding opportunities", 

 

+ In Addition, "the most Acute Problem facing human rights Defenders in Turkey is a widespread pattern of Judicial actions and Criminal proceedings Targeting them" : "Turkish Prosecutors do not hesitate to bring Spurious Charges against human rights Defenders for conducting ...Legitimate activities",  Mijatovic Denounced.

 

F.ex., "“there are clear indications that human rights Defenders working on the human rights situation in South-Eastern Turkey […] have been subjected to various forms of Reprisals and Intimidation in Retaliation for their legitimate activities”. Inter alia, "a Criminal Investigation for aiding and abetting a Terrorist (sic !)organisation was initiated in 2018 against a number of prominent human rights Defenders, in connection with the Publication of a report in 2016 on alleged human rights Violations during the curfews in Cizre", (etc). And among "Numerous" such cases "of HR Defenders in Turkey, in 2017 and 2019, ...was the Sentencing of a HR Defender ; the Detention of the former Chair of Amnesty International Turkey ; the unjustified Arrest and criminal Proceedings against 8 human rights Defenders in July 2017 ; the Arrest of 13 prominent Academics, civil society Activists and human rights Defenders in November 2018 ; the bill of Indictment regarding the Gezi Trial on February

2019", etc.

 

>>> In consequence, CoE's "Commissioner is ALARMED by the Extreme Levels that the situation has reached, where the Majority of the Long-Time civil society Partners of her Office in Turkey, who are Internationally Recognised, prominent human rights Defenders, are facing Serious Charges and the Risk of Lengthy Prison sentences"...

 

+ Similar Findings were made also by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, about an "Extensive Interpretation of the Anti-Terror Law, leading “to the Criminalisation and Prosecution of human rights defenders and Lawyers" in Turkey. As well as by UNO's Special Rapporteurs on Assembly and Association, on HR Defenders, on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, on HR while Countering Terrorism ; on Arbitrary Detention", etc., who Denounced "a Worrying Pattern of Silencing People whose work legitimately calls into Question the views and policies of the Government", (f.ex.. by "Publishing opinions Disagreeing with the Government’s anti-terrorism Policies, organizing Demonstrations, or providing Legal Representation for other Activists”, etc). 

 


=> So that Cases of "Criminal Proceedings Targeting HR Defenders, ...are too Numerous to enumerate" here, but "the Commissioner has been Closely Following" a lot of them, Citting a Long Series of concrete Cases with very Harsh                      Prosecution, (including, f.ex., "Arrest with Raids to their Houses Before Sunrise", Prosecutor's demand for Sentences up to 15 Years", etc.), which give "a Clear Sign of a Will to Intimidate and Silence Human Rights Defenders in Turkey".     

             

+ To this is Added even "Impunity regarding Murders of HR Defenders", with the "2 Main Cases" : "the Assassination of Hrant Dink, Journalist and HR Defender, in 2007", and that of "Tahir Elsin, Head of the Diyarbakir Bar Association and HR Defender, in 2016 ; The Trials, in Both cases, are Stil On-Going", and, ". Despiteclear indications that the Turkish Security forces might have been Involved in both cases, eithernthrough Complicity, wilful Inaction or Negligence, the trials have been marred with Serious Shortcomings and have Failed to fully Elucidate these Murders so far"...                                                                                                                                                      

=> "In Conclusion", CoE's HR Commissioner Denounces a "Worrying", "Continuous and Concerted Pressure exerted on Human rights Defenders, in a Deliberate attempt to Silence them and to Prevent them from Reporting on ongoing human rights Violations in Turkey", "causing" a "very Palpable" "Chilling Effect".

 

=> In consequence, CoE's Commissioner Mijatovic, is "Deeply Worried about an Escalating Negative political Discourse Targeting Human rights Defenders, as well as Smear campaigns in pro-Government Media, that frequently amount to Defamation and Hate speech", while also "Heavily Influencing... the Judiciary" in order to "act with a Negative Bias against them". 

 

So, her 2020 Report "Urges Turkish Officials at all levels to strictly Refrain from publicly Targeting human rights Defenders and Labelling them as Criminals and Terrorists", while "Criminal proceedings Targeting human rights defenders are currently the most Acute Symptom of the mounting Pressure they are facing in Turkey. Criminal Investigations, Proceedings, Detentions, and Sentences faced by ... human rights Defenders, are Too Numerous and Systematic to be considered Individual occurrences, and point to a Widespread Pattern of Misusing the Judicial process to Silence human rights Defenders and Discourage civil society Activism, as Recognised explicitly by the ECHR in a Recent case", (Comp^. Supra). 

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+ To this, was Timely Added a 22 February 2020 Letter by CoE's New Secretary General, Marija Buric, fomer vice-Prime Minister and Foreign/European affairs Minister of Croatia, (2019-2024), to the Turkish Minister of Justice, Abdulhamit Gül, strongly Denouncing the ..."Re-Arrest" of a Human Rights Defender, Osman Kavala, (Comp. Supra) and the "Investigation" opened "against the 3 Istanbul Judges who delivered the verdict of Acquittal" : 

 

 

=> - CoE's new SG asks to be informed "When a Judicial Assessment will be made of the Lawfulness of his Continued Detention, as well as of the Judge's Findings". 

+ She also "espress(es her) Concern about the Investigation, announced by the Council of Judges/Prosecutors, against the 3 Judges of the Istanbul Assize Court, who delivered the verdict of Aquittal", because "the decision to Investigate those Judges sends a Strong Chilling message to the ...Judiciary", and "also runs Counter to ... the Aims (of) the Judicial Reform" currently prepared in Turkey, to "Promote Judges and Prosecutors", in order to "Encourage Judges to deliver Judgements in Conformity with the European Court's case-law", (which has recently Slamed the Condemnation of that Human Rights Defender, as a Misuse aiming, in fact, to Silence him and Restrict Political Debate against Democratic Pluralism : Comp. Supra). 

 


(../..)


("Draft-News")


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3 EU Parliament votes to boost EuroGroup !

---------------------------------

After EuroZone Paris Summit's succes, Sarkozy calls to "think anew how to re-construct Europe !

"EuroZone and EU Institutional debates pave the way to 2009 discussions on EU Future, including Enlargment, Turkey etc. ?


23 October 2008

After EU Parliament strongly suppported in 3 successive Votes this week in Strasbourg French EU Chairmanship's move to boost Euro-Group at EU's core, while ideas on EU Institutional problems are awaited on December, "it's an open Question now" if this may lead to a debate on EU's Future, or not, told us French President, Nicolas Sarkozy''s Spokesman, Pierre-Jerome Henin.

MEPs voted on Thursday fresh Funds to support EuroGroup, after adopting on Wednesday a Resolution asking a "further Evolution" to "the 1st ever meeting of Heads of State and of Government of the Euro-Zone, taking decisions in that capacity", while earlier this week a Report asked "a stronger Institutional setting" for "EuroGroup", extended from "competitiveness/industry" to "environment, employment and education", with "increased powers for Political decision-making", according to a text drafted by French MEP Francoise Beres and German MEP Werner Langen, "10 Years after the creation of Euro" (1999 - 2009).

- Brussels' subsequent "EU Council ..(simply)..ratified the measures decided by EuroGroup on October 12" in Paris, which "were necessary to contain the current Financial Crisis", Resolution observes, expressing also support to the new process succesfully initiated by Sarkozy and due to be completed by agreements with USA and other countries at a Global level.

From now on, it's between two differend but parallel moves : EU's delay, and EuroZone's acceleration, that Enlargement and particularly Turkey's controversial EU bid, will have to search its way :

Indeed, EU's 27 expect a "Roadmap on how to deal with the Irish problem" on Lisbon Treaty ratification after December, risking to pass even 2009 Elections and next Commission with the old Nice Treaty of 2000, out-dated and unfit even for 2004's Enlargement...

On the contrary, EU's core launches a real "Economic Governance for EuroZone at the highest level of Heads of State/Government" of the 15, which started in Paris on October 12 and was strongly supported this week in Strasbourg by Sarkozy and EU Parliament.
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- "It's a good idea, to launch such a debate ("on EU's Future") in EU Parliament in view of 2009 Euro-Election : Perhaps some MEPs will seize an opportunity", told us mainstream French MEP Alain Lamassoure, former EU Minister and EU Spokesman for France's governing party UMP.

- "All MEPs' debates on such EU Councils are also part of the larger debate on Europe's future : Now with EuroZone, and even more when, on December, Irish Prime Minister is due to table proposals in Strasbourg on how to deal with EU Treaty's ratification", replied earlier to our question EU Parliament's Press Director and Spokesman, Jaume Duch.
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Sarkozy has formally anounced his intention to open EU Debates on Economy, Identity/Enlargement (i.e. mainly Turkey), etc. both linked to a popular Political view of Europe, since his Historic speeches on EU in Strasbourg, on February and July 2007, when he stressed that "Europe needs a New Renaissance". At the beginning of the French EU Presidency, on July 2008, replying to a MEP, he suggested that EU Parliament takes an active part in Debates on EU's Future.

- Now, in 2008, "Crisis are an opportunity to re-think how to re-construct Europe", Sarkozy stressed. At any case, the Historic 1st EuroZone Summit of Heads of State/Government, which started replying to the Financial crisis,"is a Turning Point : After that, Europe cannot be governed as before, but differently" : People "like a Europe with Strong Will".

- "We must make the System move !", "Europe needs Innovation" and free political debates. EU "Elections are in a few Months", Sarkozy warned.

He invited EU Parliament to fully play its role as "the Democratic Heart of the Europe we want : United, Independent and Voluntarist, because the World needs Europe's voice".

- "It's no more possible for Euro-Zone to continue without an Economic Government" at the Highest Level of Heads of State/Government, who provide "Democratic Legitimity" and can take important decisions, he announced, strongly supported by EU Parliament's Economic Committee which just voted to boost the "Institutional" aspects of "EuroGroup".

Plasticity offered by the current absence of a special Treaty on EuroZone's Institutions "made it easy to adapt the organization of the 1st Summit with imagination, to efficiently meet urgent needs", he observed, on the occasion of Brittish Prime Minister's exceptionnal presence at the greatest part of EuroGroup's Paris Summit.

- "In EuroZone we have the same Bank, the same Money, and, thus, a same duty for Unity" : "By bringing together EuroGroup's 15 members States we suceeded to find a solution and prepare a Giant Plan of 1.800 Billion euros", Sarkozy reminded of Paris' 1st Historic EuroZone's Summit.

Afterwards, Brussels' EU Council followed the move, and USA's Paulson II Plan was inspired from that. "Europe must promote the idea of Global Economy's Refoundation", he stressed.

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- "I was frankly astonished when I found, at the EU, a rigid system, where any New Idea was seen from the outset as a sacrilege, while, on the contrary, Europe needs Innovation !", he described.

F.ex. ,"'When we first spoke about the "Union for the Mediterranean", it was misunderstood as something extraordinary.. When later we had the Russia -Georgia crisis, it seemed against EU's custom to act "in the middle of August", instead of staying a passive spectator ! And when, in front of the Financial ciris, we gathered the 1st EuroZone Summit of the "15", some thought of it as a lese-majesté", he denounced.
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On Geo-Political Principles :
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- But, by moving resolutely, "EU obtained the ...withdrawal of Occupation Troops in 2 Months !", reminded Sarkozy, observing that Russia "fulfilled its commitments", in the Georgian crisis, where a "disroportionate reaction" from Moscow followed a "totally inappropriate action" from Tbilisi's troops. "It would be crazy to reply by military means : EU should not become accomplice of another Cold War, imposed by lack of cool heads".. as he said.

In future, "the creation of a common European Economic Area with EU and Russia, would also obtain a raprochment on our Human Rights and Democratic Values", added Sarkozy, in a statement which should logically be applied, a fortiori, to controversial EU "candidate" Turkey..

Particularly when, the same week that EU Parliament voted 2009 EU Funds for Turkey's controversial EU bid, ECHR took a series of judgements condemning Turkey for grave Violations of Human Rights, such as : Torture, death of a political prisoner in unclear circumstances followed by failure to conduct a proper Investigation, "enforced Disappearance" of a youngster aged 17, Killing of a sepherd with Tank Shells, persecuting Journalists for articles on "Missing" People, even a former President of Human Rights' Association, (etc)

- "We (EU) can defend our ideas on respect of Sovereignity and territorial Integrity, on Human Rights and other differences ... without confrontation", Sarkozy stressed, on the occasion of Russian/Georgian conflict, reminding that : "we were only 2 steps from catastroph", when a Peace agreement brokered in Moscow prevented, at the last minute, Russian troops' advance towards Tbilisi.

An EU Parliament Resolution adopted Wednesday in Strasbourg on the occasion of Russia - Georgia conflict, outlines a set of Principle which apply elsewhere too, (particularly when EU Rapporteur for Russia and Turkey is one and same person ; Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijtanen !)

Clearly rejecting any "military solution to the conflicts", MEPs "condemn ..all those who resorted to force and violence". They denounce a "disproportionate military action", "as well as (an) unilateral decision to recognise the independence" of brekaway regions, "calling.. to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the concerned country, "and the inviolability of its borders recognised by all EU Member States". They warn that "EU must review its policy towards" a 3rd Country, "should .(it)...not comply with its commitments", and "stress that the withdrawal of.... troops from the areas ....is an essential additional step".

EU Parliament "calls for the safe and quick return of refugees, (accepted by Russian President Medvedev) accompanied by the deployment of EU observers on the ground", and "regrets ...that ..EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) is not allowed to enter the ...breakaway regions". Moreover, "It's important to ensure that persons and NGOs ..engaged in defending human and civil rights can operate". "Until ...all remaining issues (are) resolved..., and notably the continuing ...Military presence", "relations with the EU ..cannot be fully normalised", MEPS warned.

As nobody likes to be accused to practice "Double Standards", this should be regarded as "Principles" applicable to any Third Country at EU's Neighborhood.. No ?

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On Economy :

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- "When Financial crisis shook US and EU's Banks, without result from the 1st (American) Paulsen plan, it was the common reply of the 1st EuroZone's Summit, involving some 1800 Billion euros, which started a positive move in the markets, soon strengthened by the follow-up of the US Paulson 2 Plan, noted Sarkozy.

- "Europe should not be only on the defensive, but, if necessary, know also how to take an offensive", he said, brushing away hesitationsto act on Economy: - "I'm for a refondation of Capitaliism, but against Speculators, who betray its values" : "Lack of Rules was profitable to speculators, Not to businessmen !" We must make sure to prevent any such crisis in future". "We, the rest of the World, cannot continue to bear the deficits of the 1st World power without saying anything !", the French President said, applauded by EU Parliament. All this needs "a New Global Governance", on which EU Parliament must debate. That's why "we proposed together with USA, several Summits from mid-November", to which G-8, enlarged to China, India a.o. countries, should participate. UNO's SG; Ban Ki Moon, the IMF, etc.

Financial crisis lowered shares' prices even for healthy companies, sometimes to 1/3 of their initial price, so that strangers might buy EU industries for only a portion of their real value, and Europeans may wake up one day with their main industries sold out to foreigners !

That's one of the reasons for which EU should debate about creating "Golden Shares" for States to jointly take Strategic participations to help European Industries until the end of the Crisis, particularly against distording competition, he suggested, pointing at USA's 35 billion $ plan for American Car Industry."We shall struggle for Europe to be able to build Airplanes, Ships, Trains, Cars, because we need a strong Industry", he concluded.

"F.ex. as we did back in 2004, when as Finance Minister, we bought Alsthom's shares for 800.000 euros, and, after restructuring, we sold them for 2 Millions : Help a company and make money is not so bad"...

As for the UK, "when Ireland announced that it would guarantee only Irish Banks, London City emptied from liquidities in 24 hours : It's the EU which helped to restore the situation, Not the UK alone !", reminded Sarkozy to nationalist British MEP Nigel Farage.

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On the contrary, in a last-minute attempt for the EU to catch-up with its Institutional delay "before the European Elections" of June 2009, MEPs simply voted a call for a "set of proposals" to be made for the "Irish public opinion" at the end of the year...

- "As long as Lisbon Treaty is not ratified by all 27 EU Member States, there is an unanimous decision to stop Enlargement, reminded Wednesday in Strasbourg the French Minister for EU affairs, Jean-Pierre Jouyet..

Added to an indirect but clear warning that, without Lisbon Treaty, all 27 EU Member Countries may not have a Commissioner in the 2009 resuffle, MEPS in the Constitutional/Foreign affairs Committees applauded hoping that this might motivate their Irish friends..

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