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Inicio 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 ?

Escrito por ACM
28.03.18
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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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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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