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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE under Pressure by ..Turkey against Criticism of Persecuting,Replacing+Jailing Dissident Mayors ?

CoE under Pressure by ..Turkey against Criticism of Persecuting,Replacing+Jailing Dissident Mayors ?

Parašė ACM
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- -"CoE must put Pressure on Turkey" in order to Respect Local Democracry, after Hundreds of Local/Regional Elected Representatives were Dismissed, Replaced by Government-Apointed (i.e. Not-Elected) Agents, and many of them even Jailed or Condemned for too long, without legitimate reasons, had Urged, just Yesterday, in substance, CoE's Commissoner for Human Rights, Nils Muijnieks, speaking at the Plenary Session of CoE's Watchdog for Local/Regional Democracy (CLRAE) about "promoting Human Rights at Local and Regional level", together with UNHCR's Representative to the European Institutions in Strasbourg, Roland-Francois Weil.


=> And, precisely, in order to clearly Denounce in Public such Facts, the Official Heading of CRLAE's Chamber of Local Authorities' main Public Debate Today was: -"Mayors under Pressure" :


With the Exceptional participation also of Dissidents from Turkey and Moldova, the First being obviously the "Hottest" Issue by far, including a Kurdish Dissident against whom the Turkish Government has even launched an ... "InterPol Warrant" for Arrest, asking her "Extradition" in order to Hinder her from Speaking at the CoE, as Leyla Imret, f. co-Mayor of Cizre, (where her Party had Won the latest Local Elections of 2014 with about 81%), denounced to a Fully-filled up Room, Plenty of participants.

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However, suddenly, what a Surprize : - It's the President of CLRAE's Chamber for Local Authorities himself, the Experienced, mainstream ChristianDemocrat representative from Sweden, Anders Knape, who, in Conclusion, denounced the Fact that, in reality,  he had been, Personaly, also him too "Under Pressure" by Turkey in order to Cancel that critical Public Debate, but, after Resisting, finally, CLRAE's Highest body, its Bureau, had clearly Authorized such a Debate...

 

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Nevertheless, curiously, such an Elementary Move, had been scheduled, for Now, Exceptionally withOut any written Draft Resolution to Vote upon, while it's well known that Ankara often reacts to critical Official Texts adopted by European/PanEuropean Institutions, (as, f.ex., in the Past, a CLRAE's comprehensive Resolution mainly on the Kurdish Issue inside Turkey, initially Debated, Voted, and Adopted in Strasbourg on 1997, had provoked various reactions from the Turkish Authorities, who had to Reply specifically on a crystal-clear set of concrete Points, even a Decade Later, during a Follow-up Debate on the Implementation of that CoE's Resolution, on 2007...


That's one reason more for Miss Imret's concluding appeal to COE's Watchdog for Local/Regional Democracy, to send asap. a New Delegation to Turkey in order to Monitor the real Situation of Democracy at Local level throughout the Country during all the Recent Years until Nowadays : i.e. a move which, normally, leads, precisely, to the Debate, Vote and Adoption of a Resolution addressed to the concerned State and, eventually, also a Recommendation to CoE's Comittee of (Foreign) Ministers.


Speaking in a fluent German Language, that Dissident co-Mayor from Turkey, Denounced, inter alia, the fact that, After Candidates of her Party (DBP : Democratic Party of Regions) Won a Majority of Votes during the Latest, 2014, Local Elections, "in a Total of 2.101 Villages and 103 Cities", the Turkish Governement, since 2016, Striped our Mayors from their prerogatives and, "based on Fake Allegations", it "Arrested 110 Mayors, among whom, 56 (including 24 Women) are Still Remaining Detained on 2018, while another 15 Mayors were, Meanwhile, Condemned to Prison for One up to 11 Years.


+ Moreover, just for Protesting in public against the Deadly Turkish Military Invasion and Occupation of the Syrian Kurdisg canton of Afrin, (already Denounced Both by UNO in New York, EU Parliament in Strasbourg, and EU Heads of State/Government in Brussels, etc.: See, f.ex., inter alia, also : ..., ..., and ..., etc), the New Co-President of that Dissident Party, Mahmut Aslan, (as well as Leyla Gulen, former Mayor, later Elected MP and NGO Head, who was Arrested since the End of January 2018, and Still Remains Detained until Today),  was also Arrested, on February 2018, and, according to several informations, he would be even "submitted to grave Torture while in Detention".


- 'It's Not Worth Replying" : "She is Lying !", merely reacted Turkish representative Nevzat Dogan, Mayor of Izmir (traditionally Smyrne, from Ancient Times until the 1922 Massare), from the currently Governing Party in Ankara.


 - "She is someone Aiding Terrorist Groups", "there is a Criminal Procedure" against her, and "she Fled Out of Turkey : Thus, she is Fleeing Turkey's Justice !", Mr Dogan accused.


- "This person has gone to Jail, a Criminal Judicial process is going on, and there is very Concrete Proof that she is Linked to Terrorist Activities !", the Turkish representative stressed, (Avoiding, However, to cite Any Concrete Fact)...


>>> How, then, was it "possible for her to come and Speak, here, to the CoE ?", he wondered., (Attacking her Freedom of Speech, But Not Daring Argue against her Arguments and Facts, with other concrete arguments and facts)...


=> This is a "Violation of Standards",  a "Divisive", "Tragic" and "Damaging" fact, "Against the Principles", he Cried !


 -"It's Not for the CoE", "Neither for Any (European/International) Organisation, to Decide if She is Guilty, or Not : It's up to he (Turkish) Judges", he Threatened, (while Thousands of Turkish Judges have just been notoriously Dismissed, Prosecuted, Jailed and/or Condemned)...


- Therefore, "the People who Applauded her, (during CoE's Debates), do Not Know what they are doing !".


=> Shouting against "Racism and Islamophobia, against Refugees", (as he called the Mass Irregular Migrants "Tsunami" of More than 1,5 Millions People from Afghanistan and Pakistan, up to the Maghreb, etc., including Syria, Iraq and many Other Countries of the World, that Turkey suddenly Threw, withOut any Warning, against Europe on 2015-2016, Exploiting abusively as a BlackMail in order to Swindle Europe out of Money and/or EU Accession-related Advantages for Ankara),


>>> Mr. Dogan Concluded, curiously, by ...Asking "Germans" to "Look First their own History (sic !), Before Criticizing the Situation in Turkey", (Forgetting that Hitler had done, precisely, the equivalent of that : i.e. Look at the Turkish History, when he reportedly uttered his Famous :  - "Who Remembers, Now, the Armenians ?")...


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   - "As you saw, here was Nothing to Say Against the Substance of my Speech, (Comp. Supra), but Only Against the Fact that I was Free to Speak, in front of you", at the COE, Replied the Dissident and Persecuted Mayor Leyla Imret.


 - It's, precisely, such kind of Negative Reactions which threaten to make Democratic political "Dialogue" practically "Impossible in Turkey" Nowadays,  she Denounced, pointing at Mr. Dogan's above-mentioned Behavior.


 - As for her Prosecution (Comp^. Supra), she simply observed that, "If Judges are really Free to Judge in full Independence, and if I had any Guarantee for a Fair Trial, then, it's OK : I'd Go before the Judges", (as she had Already done 3 Times in the Past, when she had been, initially, Detained, but Afterwards Released Free, when the Judges had Read the real content of her Speaches, and found that some pro-Turkish Government Medias accusing her, had, in fact, Viciously MisRepresentad and Distorded her sayings)...


- "I would Love to Solve our Problems by Dialogue, But, Now, Apparently, as we see (even here, in the CoE), the Time has Not Yet come for a Democratic Dialogue, and it Risks to take even Longer before it may become again Possible, she Regretted, expressing her "Hope" for "a Return Back to Democracy in Turkey" in the Future.

=> Thus, Meanwhile, in Conclusion, Dissident f. Mayor Imret, Anounced that a "Hunger-Strike" had Started, recently, "in front of UNO's (PanEuropean) HeadQuarters", at Nearby Geneva, by People who Protest against the Turkish Military Invasion and Occupation of Syrian Kurdish Afrin canton, and call for the Withdrawal of Ankara's Troops from Afrin, pointing also at "Hundrends of Thousands of (real) Refugees who are Wandering around, far Away from their Family Homes, withOut any Help, withOut Shelter, No Food or Protection, etc., in order to attract Attention to their Fate".


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+ Many European Representatives a the CLRAE took the Floor to Speak on the subsequent Debate on that CoE's exceptional event about "Mayors under Pressure", which had been Officialy Scheduled to Start at 10h.30 a.m., Today, Wednesday Morning.


>>> But, even if that Crystal-Clear Time-table had been Officially inscribed Both to CLRAE Spring 2018 Session's overall Agenda, and at Today's Time-Table, printed and distributed at the CoE very Early this Morning (See relevant CoE Documents' Photos), Nevertheless, it was, Naturally, a Big Surprise, to finally Find out that, ...Instead of Starting at 10h.30, as initially scheduled and even later confirmed, on the Contrary, that obviously Important Meeting, in fact, ...Ended at 10h.30 !


=> This UnExpected, and AbNormal Last-Minute Radical Change, practically Hindered many People, (including, partially, "Eurofora"), from fullly attending All that CoE's Debate.


+ Furthermore, in the Particular but Real Circumstances of this Exceptional Day, it also Hindered to Attend an ECHR's Grand Chamber's Public Hearing in an Affair of Rare Importance for Both Human Rights and Foreign Policy concerning Cyprus and the manifold Consequences of the still on-going Turkish Military Invasion and Occupation of the Nothern Part of the Island, nowadays EU Member State, (even in cases Risking to Scandalously leave Totally UnPunished some Brutal Killers of Greek Cypriots in the Free Areas of the Republic, who run, After having Committed their Horrible Crime in Recent Years, to Hide inside the Territories Occupied by the Turkish Army !), which had been notoriously scheduled by the CoE, since long, for Today, Wednesday, earlier, i.e. from 9h.15...


++ In Addition, that Strange Last-Minute Change, by DesOrganizing this Day's Time-table, it even Obstructed, in real Practice, "Eurofora"s participation to the Ceremony in Memory of the Victims of the latest Islamist Terrorist ISIS' Attack, cowardly Targetting innocent Civilian People on March 2018, at Aude, which had been prepared by French Officials and Strasbourg's Prefect, at the Other Side of the City, at 10h a.m., and where "Eurofora" had been kindly Invited : A particularly Emotional Event, as it included, naturally, an Homage to Philippe Beltrame, that Heroic French Gendarme, (personally Familiar to "Eurofora" also by his former Duties at the French Presidential Palace "Elysée" in Paris, as well as for the Security of the French President), who notoriously Risked and Sacrificed his own Life, in order to Save that of a fragile Poor Woman (obliged to work at a Super-Market's check-out, despite her University Diploma), among those various innocent Civilian People Cowardly Targetted by ISIS' Brutal and Deadly Thugs.


* All these 3 Exceptional Events in Strasbourg, (UnExpectedly made almost Synchronous), have at least two Common Characteristics :
(A) Obviously, they All Interested and concerned "Eurofora", (however Hindered to attend all of them, Contrary from what had been initially scheduled).


And (B), they were all Related to Ankara's most Controversial Policies, such as (1) Massive Violations of Human Rights/Democratic rules inside Turkey, (2) manifold Consequences of the Turkish Military Invasion/Occupation of Cyprus, and (3) notorious Long-Time Turkey's logistical a.o. support to Deadly Islamist Terrorists, as ISIS, Cowardly Targetting Civilian People, (in terms of Jihadist Gangs' Recruitment, Weapons' Supplies, Traffic for Stolen Oil/Gas and/or usurpated Ancient Cultural Heritage objects, Dirty Money-Laundering, etc), Followed, Recently, even by Direct Turkish Military Attacks against Syrian Kurds, (who have Helped the USA/EU-led International Coalition to Succesfully Fight against ISIS), with the Result to see, Now, a Recrudescence of ISIS' Deadly Terrorists' Coward Attacks Targetting innocent Civilian People, (as, f.ex., just a Few Days ago in France, etc)...


- At any case, Shortly After Today's Exceptional CLRAE's Meeting, a well informed CoE's Official said to "Eurofora" that a Pretext for that Spectacular, Last-Minute U-Turn and Radical Change in the PanEuropean Organisation's  Time-Table (Comp. Supra), would have been the Exceptional Fact that, Suddenly, CoE's Rapporteur in anOther among 2 Additional "Routine" small Debates about some of many "Local Elections" in certain Other Member Countries, (here = Georgia), i.e. Liberal Brittish Representative Stewart Dickson, Anounced that he had been Hindered, by a Strange (not-named) UnExpected "Incident" on his Way to Strasbourg, to Arrive on Time !


So, it might have been just a Tiny Micro-Event as that, which would have Hindered all those People who had Trusted COE's Official Agenda about that Key Meeting on "Mayors under Pressure" taking place at 10h.30, Both to attend that Meeting (as it, actually, ...Ended at the Moment that it Should, Normally, have Started !), and to really go to those Other, Above-mentioned, 2 Turkey-related, Exceptionaly important Events in Strasbourg, (Comp. Supra)...


+ In Addition, "Eurofora" was Surprized to See at least 2 well-known Members of the Turkish Delegation in the CLRAE, suddenly become, apparently, so ...Glad, when that CoE's Meeting on "Mayors under Pressure" had Concluded, that they were Exchanging (Behind a Wall, which Covered a small Area from CoE's big Room), large Smiles and Big Laughs, between them, so Excited, that they DidN't even Notice that they were Not Alone, almost ..."Dancing", with some Strange Moves, as if they would have Triomphally managed to Achieve and Snatch something Exceptionally Important !


=> Was it, Perhaps, because there was, indeed, at the same time, a Strange Feeling, as if things had, somehow, been Turned Upside - Down, so that, Instead of the CoE putting "Pressure on Turkey", (as it had Initially been the obvious Official Purpose of all those relevant Moves at the CLRAE in Strasbourg : Comp. Supra), on the Contrary, in Real Practice, the UnExpected Way that Events went through, (f.ex. the Absence of Any Written Resolution, the UnWarned, Radical, Last-Minute Change in the Agenda, etc), Might have  to the Opposite : I.e. that it was Now ...Turkey which was putting "Pressure" on the CoE !...


+ Together with the President of CLRAE's Chamber of Local Authorities, Anders Knape's shocking Revelation that he had, astonishingly, been already ...Himself "Under Pressure", mainly by the Turkish Authorities, which had Pushed him to "Cancel" that Debate, (Comp. Supra), it's Also the Exceptional Fact that Turkey had, Suddenly, Imposed in Real Practice, Earlier than Expected, its Recent Threat to, Suddenly, Stop Paying the Full Sum of Money that it Owed to the CoE since it Asked and Obtained a Status of "Big Funderd" ("Grand Payeur"), as the Most Important Member Countries, (such as Russia, Germany, France, the UK, etc), which gave to Ankara severeral "Special" Advantages, including a much Bigger Number of Representatives with Right to Vote inside CoE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), etc.


>>> In an Official Paper which circulated this week inside the CLRAE and all CoE in Strasbourg, PACE Strongly Denounces particularly Turkey's UnExplained Decision to Start Immediately putting into real Practice its UnExpected Threat to Cut a notable Part of CoE's currently Scarce Funds, with the Result to Provoke Serious Disruptions and Problems in its Functioning, which Could and Should have been Prevented, if Ankara had Warned on Time, and/or Left Enough Time to Prepare adequate Adjustments Before Cutting that part of Scheduled Funds.


No Official Explanation has Surfaced, until now, for Turkey's Surprizing Decisions, Not Only to Radically Reduce its Scheduled Annual Financial Contribution to the CoE, but Also to actually Start Doing so in real Practice, almost Immediately, withOut any Timely Previous Warning.
In Consequence, as a 1st Counter-Measure, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly has just Decided to Stop Any Translation from/to the Turkish Language, as a Measure of Economy, since it reportedly used to Cost about 700.000 € Each Year until now...


Such a Move wasn't yet anounced also by the CLRAE, where Turkish Representatives were still practically allowed to Speak and Hear duriing the Debates in their National Language, by using CoE's Translation Service, as they, indeed, are Used to do in almost 9 out of 10 cases. But a possible Cut of Turkish Translations also at the CLRAE, would, certainly, Not Bother at all f.ex. the Dissident Kurdish former Mayor Leyla Imret, since she has already Proven, Today, that she really Speaks a quite Fluent "Deutsch" (one of COE's Official Languages)...


 - However, such UnPrecedented Moves towards Cutting the Scheduled Funds for CoE's normal Functioning, have, Nowadays, become so Serious, in Real Practice, that the CLRAE's Governance Committee President, the Experienced French, ChristianDemocrat/EPP Representative Jean-Luis Testud, speaking to "Eurofora", found that Problem to have recently become so Important, that he Cited it as "No 1" among his Committee's concerns during the Present, Spring 2018 Session of the Congress...


- President Testud said that to "Eurofora", naturally taken Together with Russia's Parallel, but much Earlier, Anouncement to Suspend Funding, (for which, However, Moscow had Notoriously, already Warned since Long, and may Respond, (practically from the End of March 2018), to a highly Controversial Disruption of All the Russian Delegation's Participation to CoE's Parliamentary Assembly since 2014, on pretext of the Ukranian Conflict, (which had been Provoked in Kiev, Donetsk and Odessa, etc. with a Series of Tragic, but still Not-fully-Elucidated Events), when a Controversial Amendment, pushed, in fact, by a Minority of the PACE then, Suddenly Extended even Further than what it was Initially Scheduled a set of Sanctions against Russian MEPs' Rights, Destroying, thus, a delicate Compromise which had, Earlier, been Found by the Parties Earlier.

(Almost Similar Sequence of Events, to that written Agreement that had been, initially, Signed by former Ukranian President Yanukovitch and All the Opposition, under the Auspices of French, German and Polish Foreign Ministers, for New Elections, Amnesty, a National Unity Government, etc, But was, immediately Afterwards, Brutally pushed aside and droped by a Sudden OutBurst of Deadly Violence in Kiev, Triggered by some, Still Mysterious "Snipers" who, Curiously, Killed Both Demnstrators and Policemen, as also Estonia's Foreign Minister had notoriously Observed then, See, f.ex.: ..., +...,  etc).


Recently, CoE anounced, since December 2017-January 2018, that a New Formula for a still Continuing "Dialogue" between Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organisation and Russia, in order to Hopefullt Find an Agreement before a forthcoming, probable New PanEuropean CoE's Heads of State/Government Summit scheduled for 2019, rather under French Presidency, and Relevant High-Level Political Meetings Started, indeed, to take place, at the End of January 2018 in Strasbourg, and at the Beginning of March in Paris, which should be Continued.


- However, as things stand Today, (and, naturally, taking Together, Both Russia's and Turkey's threats to Cut their Financial Contributions to the CoE), all this provokes an UnPrecedented overall Context, in which, CLRAE's Governance Committee President Testud, really Feels the Danger for one or another kind of "Blackmail" Attempt being, eventually, exerted upon the CoE, as he Warned nowadays "Euforora".


At any case, However, that Turkish Affair is, Obviously, almost entirely Differend from that of Russia's, and should Not be Confused :


(1) Indeed, it's Only Russia which has had to Face an Exceptional Disruption of All its Delegation's participation to the PACE since 2014, (Triggered by a Controversial Move to Impose More Sanctions than Initially Scheduled on Russia : Comp. Supra), while, on the Contrary, Turkey not only Kept its Delegation to PACE, but has even ...Augmented its Number, Meanwhile, by Becoming also a "Big Funder" !


(2) Russia had, already from the outset, clearly Explained the Reasons for which it (more or less, rightly or wrongly) found Justified to Reduce, Suspend or Cut its Annual Financial Contribition to the COE, obviously in relation with those Extended Sanctions against its National Delegation to PACE (Comp. Supra), and has also Proposed some concrete Formulas and Ways to Try to Settle this UnPrecedented Problem, (f.ex. by a Negotiated Reform of PACE's Rules of Procedure, etc), in order to Guarantee that it doesn't Pop up again at one moment or another, in the Future. In Addition, Recently, Crystal-Clear Mechanisms and Procedures were established, in Common Agreement with the rest of the CoE, on How to Start Jointly Searching, Discussing and Negotiating a possible Compromise. But, on the Contrary, Turkey, all out of a Sudden, just Anounced Recently to the CoE its Intention to Stop being one among its Big Funders, with a Simple Letter which, reportedly, did Not Say Anything about its possible Reasons, (as even CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, was Obliged to Reveal, when he was Asked, during a Meeting with Srasbourg Journalists, including "Eurofora", towards the End of 2017). Even until Nowadays, at the End of March 2018, there has Not Surfaced Yet Any clearly known, Public and Transparent Debate on Ankara's real Demands from the CoE....


(3) Moreover, Russia had notoriously Warned, since a quite Long Time ago, and on Several Occasions, that it might, Progressively, be pushed (by that, still Persisting Absence of all its National Delegation to the PACE, even for a 4rth Year in a rown, between 2014 - 2018) to Reduce and/or Cut its Annual Financial Contribution to the CoE. While, on the Contrary, Turkey Never did so, but Only, Suddenly, Announced its UneExpected Intention to Stop being one among several "Big Funders" of the CoE, and Hurried up to Start Cutting the Scheduled Funds to the CoE Before even Saying When it intended to do so, Taking everyone by Surprize, and, thus, considerably Aggravating, in real Practice, the Damage thus Provoked to the Detriment of CoE's regular Functioning, as PACE just Denounced, (Comp. Supra).


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=> In Consequence, Given All these relevant Facts, it Obviously Appears not only Legitimate, but even Necessary, (if not Urgent), to Clearly Raise the crucial Question :


- WHO is "Pressured", Nowadays, by Whom, in this Multifacet Story, made out of a Complex Magma of core Human Rights, Funds  and Geo-Politics ?


- Is it Really the CoE which is Exerting "Pressure" on the Turkish Government, in order to Convince it to, at last, Respect at least the most Elementary Rights, first of all, of its own People, and/or of several among its Neighbouring Countries' Populations, (as it's notoriously the Duty of Strasbourg's Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, to do, Both in this and Other Cases)  


- Or, it's, in Fact, Ankara's Regime which is Exerting the Biggest "Pressure" upon the PanEuropean CoE in Strasbourg ?...


>>> Timely Question, (indeed Raised by the Recent Facts : Comp. Supra), put in order to Find a Crustal-Clear and Convincing Answer, which will Certainly Mark, in one way or another, CoE's and the PanEuropean Area's Moral and GeoPolitical foreseable Future, shortly Before the, apparently forthcoming, New 47 Heads of State/Governments' Summit, most probably in Strasbourg, under French Presidency, on 2019,


Which might, perhaps, be Obliged by Hard Facts, to Become even much More "Historic" than that of 1998, here too...


It was then, just after Russia's Entry as Full Member inside the CoE, Marking the Historic ReUnification of the entire Europe, (as USA, Canada, Japan and even Mexico were, almost at the Same Time, receiving a Special Status), with the ECHR making an Impressive Emergence with its First Landmark Cases on Human Dignity and a Comprehensive Institutional Reform, while even Core BioEthical Issues were Pointing, by a Coincidence, almost at the Same Time, at Sky-Rocketing Enigmas of Huge Stakes for all Humanity, (Cloning Humans, "Oviedo" Convention on Human Rights and BioEthics, etc)...


 But, Now, obviously, the Exceptionally Worsened Situation of Human Rights in and around Turkey, among others, and the Horrible Challenges raised by Deadly and Brutally InHuman Islamist Terrorism from ISIS' Cowards Targetting innocent Civilian People, both in Europe, in the USA and elsewhere in the World, added to Recent Attempts to Divide Europe and its People, while China still remains the Only UN SC Permanent Member withOut any kind of Special Status at the CoE (Despite an upGraded Consular Presence in Strasbourg), Digital Technologies Boom both Risks to Individual Persons' Life and Conscience, if Not to a Looming "Digital Divide", as well as an UnPrecedented Potential for Human Development and Access to Culture, and BioEthics Face Crucial Challenges, (f.ex. with "Gene-Editing" Technologies, etc), in a never ending list.


Exagerated PathWays between the Problem of "Mayors under Pressure" in Turkey or elsewhere, and some obviously much Greater (even if not totaly UnRelated) Issues, some Critics might, Rightfully, say...


Yes, But, Who would accept to Forget, and Why, that World-Famous "ReNaissance" Flamish Painter's Masterpiece picturing a Mirror giving a View, through a Series of more and more Wide Reflects through Crystals up to the Sky, towards an unexpectedly Huge and Large OverView ? And, after all, doesn't the Core Concept of pure and simple, basic Human Dignity (which Naturally includes also Safety), notoriously pierce through All that, in a New Way, Each Time ?


(../..)


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***


("DraftNews", as already Send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).


***
 

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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  


    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
---------------------
French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...
---------------------------------------

- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".


- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...


    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
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    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.

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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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