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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Assembly CEO Sawicki to EF: More EU-CoE cooperation on Human Rights + particularly on Turkey ?

CoE Assembly CEO Sawicki to EF: More EU-CoE cooperation on Human Rights + particularly on Turkey ?

Written by ACM
Friday, 07 October 2016

 coe_assembly_press_briefing_7_october_2016__eurofora_400


*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/-
EU - CoE Cooperation on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, continues further and intensifies, particularly on Turkey, after the latest EU-27 Summit at Bratislava, even if there are No apparent "Big Changes", replied, in substance, the Experienced CEO of PanEuropean CoE's 47 Member Countries-strong Parliamentary Assembly, Wojcieck Sawicki, from Poland. A Growing Number of various but converging Moves around the Controvesial situation in Turkey after a strange, 6 Hours-long "Putch" Attempt, earlier this Summer 2016 (See, f.ex., "Eurofora"s relevant NewsReport at: ....), due to Start unfolding from Next Week in Strasbourg, during the Autumn Plenary Session of CoE's Assembly (10-14 October 2016), seems to confirm, and further support, such a probable Trend.


- "Eurofora"'s Question to Sawicki, (during the regular Press Briefing of Strasbourg's Journalists following the CoE, at the Eve of its Assembly's Plenary Sessions in Strasbourg), pointed to the Fact that there were various Mentions made at CoE's possible Role, in the above mentioned area, given its Legal Expertise, which were made recently, around the Bratislava EU-27 Heads of State/Government Summit, including, at its eve, in EU Parliament in Strasbourg, (f.ex., by EU Commissioner Hahn since Monday, even the President of EU Commission, JC. Juncker, etc, added also to some Turkish Government Officials themselves, during EU/CoE Visits in Ankara, etc). Given his Long Experience in such matters, did he feel that, indeed, such a pronounced Trend might currently be on its Way ?


- After Reminding the Fact that, EU - CoE Cooperation in such Issues "has been already going-on" since several Years, including, f.ex., in several "Co-Funded Programs", as well as in terms of relevant "Mentions by EU Commission" and others, CoE Assembly's Director General, went on to cite also some other recent Cases of "Hungary, Poland, etc", before Anouncing that the PanEuropean Parliamentary "Assembly has recently referred Turkey to (CoE's Constitutional Law and Human Rights' Watchdog) the <<Venice Commission>> concerning the Laws and other Measures which have been Taken After the <<Putsch>>" of July 2016, (as he said for that Strange, 6 Hours-long, alleged attempt to "restore Peace, Democracy and Human Rights", as those atypical "putschists" had reportedly claimed overnight : See +.....).

Meanwhile, "Venice Commission" is due to Adopt, Next Thursday, its Conclusions on the Suspension of the Turkish Constitution's provisions for "Parliamentary Inviolability" of National MPs. 


- But the overall "Venice Commission"'s forthcoming Findings on Tukey (Comp. Supra) are Expected for "December 2016", Sawicki added, in his above-mentioned Reply to "Eurofora"s Question.

 

Such a Timing Fits quite Well with what mainstream MEP, President of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, and Head of the German Delegation to CoE's Assembly, Axel Fischer, had Previously stressed to "Eurofora", already as Early as since the End of June 2016, (See : ...), about PACE aiming to seriously Check the situation in Turkey and prepare relevant Decisions on that, "from January 2017".

 

 20161007_120041_400


But, meanwhile, given the obvious Urgency of that matter, particularly on several fundamental Human Rights Issues, as well as the Unprecedented Scale of the very Numerous People seriously Affected by a Long Series of Oppressive Measures taken by Ankara's current Government, many MEPs have already Asked, officialy, an "Urgent Debate" on "the Situation in Turkey", due to take place during the forthcoming, Autumn 2016 Plenary Session of CoE's Assembly in Strasbourg Next Week, from 10 to 14 October.


However, at least at this Stage, "there will be No Text" to be Officialy Voted by CoE's Assembly at the Conclusion of such an "Urgent" Debate, Sawicki pointed out.


On the Contrary, CoE's Draft Agenda has scheduled, however, a Full public Debate at this Plenary Session, asking  from ...Russia, inter alia, also to "Withdraw its Troops" from parts of Ukraine, and to Stop "supporting Separatists" in the pro-Autonomy Regions of Lugansk and Luhansk, as it calls them.


But, at the Same Moment, curiously, Nothing has been yet Anounced about Asking also Turkey to "Withdraw" its Military from (CoE and EU Member) Cyprus, Syria and/or Iraq, despite the notoriously Illegal Invasion of Key Territories in all rthose 3 Neighbouring Countries, and several Calls by their respective Governments, who have all Condemned Ankara's various such Invasions, (See, f.ex., also a clear Statement, these Last Days, by Iraq's Prime Minister, etc)...


Moreover, the controversial Ukraine Issues are due to be Debated (and even Voted upon) by CoE's PanEuropean Assembly in the Total Absence of any MEP from Russia, whose National Delegation has been Sanctioned by a makeshift Group of MEPs in the PACE, (Comp., f.ex. : ...), while, on the Contrary, Turkish MEPs will not only be all Present in Strasbourg Next Week, but, in Addition, their Number has been largely Augmented after a Recent Move giving Ankara, for the 1st Time in History, a similar Status as that of the 150 Millions Citizens'-strong Russia, the more than 90 Millions-strong Germany, and UN Security Council "Permanent" Members from the UK and France, so that there are, Now, much More Turkish Votes than in the Past, (something that hadn't been seen before, not even during the Cold War period)...


Nevertheless, CoE in general, seems to be Really Starting to use at least several among its manifold Tools, regarding the currently Massively Aggravated notorious Human Rights "Crisis" inside Turkey. F.ex. :


- CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, a former Prime Minister from Norway, has just Met, Yesterday in Strasbourg, with the PanEuropean Organisation's recently created "Platform for the Protection of Journalists", (composed mainly by various International Human Rights Organisations specialized on Press/Media Freedom Issues), precisely about the current Oppressive Measures notoriously taken by the Turkish Government against a Large Number of Dissident Journalists, and he "Intends to Strengthen Further" its Role in that matter, as Jagland's Spokesman, and CoE's Press/Media Director, Daniel Holtgen from Germany, stressed Earlier Today to "Eurofora".


  - Today, CoE's Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muijnieks, Published in Strasbourg a "Memorandum" on Turkey, where he mainly Concludes that "Deviations from Juman Rights and Rule of Law" Risk to "leave indelible Scars, and be immensely Detrimental in the long run", and, in consequence, "insists on the urgency of reverting to ordinary procedures and safeguards, by ending the state of emergency as soon as possible". Already, "Until then, the (Turkish) authorities should Start Rolling Back the deviations from such procedures and safeguards as Quickly as possible, through a Nuanced, sector-by-sector and case-by-case approach", since certain "Crimes have to be Punished". as he says, considering that  "it is time for the Turkish authorities to Curb certain Excesses of the state of Emergency" at least.  


+ In Addition, CoE's Commissioner Anounced Today his Intention to "Publish" also Other relevant "Memoranda" for Ankara, concerning "namely Human Rights Implications of counter-terrorism Operations in South-Eastern Turkey, and Freedom of Expression and freedom of the Media", "Before the End of 2016", (i.e., once again, according a Timeline which Fits with President Axel Fischer's above-mentioned RDV on Turkey from 1/2017, as he warned "Eurofora" (Comp. Supra).


    - Meanwhile, the PanEuropean Organisation's "Anti-Racism" and "Anti-Discrimination" Watchdog, "ECRI", in comprehensible Report on Turkey, Published Earlier this Week in Strasbourg, Denounces the Fact that, already "Before the Coup" of July 2016, "since the renewed Security Operations in 2015, the Situation of the Kurdish Minority has "Sharply Deteriorated", while, at the Same Time, "Hate Speech, including by senior State representatives, is on the Rise in Turkey, and most of it goes Unpunished", expressing also "Concern" for Roma, LBGTI People and Refugees, as, inter alia, despite Staying in Turkey for Years, "at least 400,000 Refugee Children do Not have Access to School", and Most Refugees No "Work Permits", (etc).


    + Next Week in Strasbourg, on the Sidelines of CoE Assembly's Plenary Session for Autumn 2016, in Addition to a Press Conference on "Press and Media Freedom in Turkey", organized on Tuesday by the "EuroLeft" Group of MEPs, the Experienced former President of PACE, mainstream Liberal MEP from Luxembourg, Anne Brasseur, organises a Hearing on "the situation of the Turkish Justice system", both "Before and After the Coup", with the participation of the Leaders of 3 or 4 European Associations of Judges and other Experts, ONG, etc., 2 Days Before PACE's forthcoming, general Public Debate on "the situation in Turkey, in the light of the Attempted Coup d'Etat", in general, initialy Scheduled for Thursday, (i.e. when German Foreign Minister, Steinmeier, is due to Visit and Address the CoE here).


    - Last, but not least,  Turkey's Foreign Minister, the Experienced Mevlut Cavusoglou, former PACE Chairman, is expected to also Visit and Address the PanEuropean CoE's Parliamentary Assembly on Wednesday, when he's normaly due to Reply to various MEPs' Questions during 40 Minutes, as usualy Scheduled in such kind of Official visits. (Something which is Not always seen with Pleasure by Ankara's Government Officials : F.ex., former Prime Minister Davutoglou had notoriously chosen, at a Previous occasion here, to Occupy all the allocated Time with his own Speech, Leaving for MEPs' Questions Only a Few Minutes... This was very Critically commented by various CoE Senior Officials afterwards, as well informed CoE sources Warned Today)... 

 

20161007_161642_400 

   All such Various but Converging Moves by several CoE's Mechanisms, almost at the Same Time, (as usual in cases so serious as that of Turkey), are naturaly Welcome, and even Long Overdue, as far as Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law are concerned. But the current Lack, at least until now (i.e. Before the 1/2017 alleged "RDV" : Comp. Supra), of an Overall and Comprehensive Assessment, to Debate in Public, in order to Result in certain Important Decisions by Vote, etc, as well as the Fact that Turkey, recently, was given a Higher Status inside CoE's Assembly (mainly, with More MEPs => Votes+) than even before in History (Comp. Supra), risking to look, at least apparently, as playing a Double Role of "Both Judge and Party" (as certain Top Turkey Officials appeared Recently very Glad to observe), may obviously provoke legitimate concerns, or, at least, raise unanswered yet, critical Questions.


A Next CoE Assembly's Session is due to take place, in the Format of its Standing Comittee (the Highest Body just after the full Plenary) on November 2016 in Cyprus, which takes over CoE's rotating Presidency from November 2016 to May 2017, almost 23 Years after its Previous such Presidency, Back on 1994, (to whom "Eurofora"s co-Founder had actively Contributed then, also, intitially, from a Press Attaché side, i.e. Helping Journalists and Informing Cyprus' Government on several Topical EU/COE/UN Issues from Strasbourg. The New Speaker of Cyprus' Parliament, Dimitri Sylouris, (a long-time MP, and even former MEP at EU Parliament here, quite well known to "Eurofora"), has recently anounced, (during the Latest BiAnnual Summit of CoE's Speakers of Parliament, back on September 15-16 in Strasbourg : an Important Meeting, that "Eurofora" was practicaly Obliged to Miss, since we had to Urgently Catch a Train for the 1st in History EU-27 Heads of State/Government, Post-BREXIT Summit, at Bratislava, Slovakia : Comp. our 5 NewsReports from Bratislava at : .... + ... + ... + ... + ...) that the precise Date of that Event had been scheduled for 24 - 25 November 2016.

(../..)

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 politkovskaya_gongadze_adali_400

Hu Jia's prize brings SAKHAROV's wife to "EuroFora" on murders of Journalists Politkofskaya, Gongadze and Adali :

- Elena Bonner : "All Journalists' murders must be fully investigated", without Double Standards.                                                                                    

During a special Mega-Event to celebrate 20 Years of SAKHAROV Prize for "Freedom of Thought", attributed in 2008 by EU Parliament to jailed Chinese Cyber-Dissident Hu JIA, the move was reinforced by strongly criticizing the persisting impunity in three cases of Journalists' Murders, such as POLITKOVSKAYA in Russia, GONGADZE in Ukraine, and ADALI in Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

Any bureaucratic doubt about whether Cyber-dissidents like Hu JIA might have, or not, a right to be protected as all Journalists must be, particularly when they take risks to search, find and publish original and critical News on issues of general interest to the society, could not resist to the emotion provoked by the message of his Wife, Zeng JINYAN spectacularly transmitted at a big screen in EU Parliament's hemicycle :

- "The most important and most interesting thing he did was to ... say the Truth :.. to write about the phenomena he observed... He never stopped Publishing.. on websites, so that the Public could learn about the reality .. and understand it.  In my view, this has been his greatest contribution", stressed the young wife of the jailed man, eager to cite also the cases of other critical journalists who faced various kinds of "harassment".

 - "Welcoming all those who have suffered for defending Human Rights", EU Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING, who had invited to Strasbourg all former Sakharov prize-winners from various Countries throughout the World, said that "China needs Europe, and Europe needs China : A great nation" with which "we want to have a good relationship", "association and ..friendship". "But we are never going to stop our fight for Human Rights, and No Government can expect this from us".

    - "It's impossible  to achieve goals of Peace, if Human Rights are left out. In fact, Peace and Human Rights are intrinsequaly linked", added POETTERING.

    It's in this spirit that MEPs adopted, on Thursday, a Resolution denouncing that "the criminal
investigation and trial following the murder of (a) Journalist ...raises serious concerns with regard to transparency and respect for the rule of law", when a "brutal killing has not yet been fully investigated and solved in a satisfactory way".

    The text refered to dissident Journalist "Anna POLITOVSKAYA", a critic of Tchechen conflict, killed some years ago in Moscow, where Russian Authorities have found, arrested and are currently judging two executants, while also searching to arrest also a 3rd one, allegedly escaped in Belgium. But they have not yet found the instigators.

     Similar texts were adopted recently also on dissident Ukranian Journalist Georgiy GONGADZE's murder, for which Ukranian Authorities have at least found, arrested and condemned 2 executants to 12 and 13 Years of jail, but not yet the instigators. For that purpose, they recently accepted an International Experts team to participate to the investigations.     

But, it's only for the Murder of dissident Turkish Cypriot Journalist ADALI, in the occupied territories of Cyprus, that Turkey has NOT yet found ANYONE responsible, and even claimed recently inside CoE that it would be "impossible" to do so !    

These astonishing differences exist despite the fact that ECHR condemned alike Ukraine and Turkey with 2 Judgements on the same year : 2005, for the murders of  Journalists GONGADZE and ADALI, strong critics of Corruption in Ukraine, and of Ankara's policies on mass-influx of Turkish Settlers in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, respectively.    

Regarless of that, CoE's Committee of Ministers, who is entrusted with the duty to supervise execution of ECHR's judgements, has just asked Ukraine's Government to reply to further questions on Gongadze's murder before March 2009, while Turkey, curiously, got a longer postponement for answering questions on Adali's murder, until June...   

A comparison of these cases, raises serious questions about Double Standards :

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

On TRANSPARENCY :
--------------------------
    On Gongadze's murder, CoE's body speaks even about the participation of
"an INTERNATIONAL group of Experts" in the Investigation, (f.ex. of "Tape Recordings"), accepted by Ukraine.
    On the contrary, on Adali's murder, CoE is obliged to repeatedly ask (for a 2nd
time) Turkey whether, at least, it informed the victims' Family, or not...
------------------------------
- On EFFICIENCY :
-----------------------
On Gongadze's murder, CoE formally "recalls that the Committee (of Ministers) ..URGED the Ukranian authorities.. to TAKE ALL NECESSARY INVESTIGATIVE STEPS TO ACHIEVE CONCRETE and VISIBLE RESULTS in the INVESTIGATION, aimed at the Identification of the INSTIGATORS and Organisers of the Murder", and "STRONGLY INVITED the Ukranian Authorities to provide information on the PROGRESS IN THE INVESTIGATION", before MARCH 2009.

But, on Adali's murder, on the contrary, CoE's body merely .. "took note" of the "arguments presented by" Cyprus, which denounce the absence of any proof of new "investigation" by Turkey. Following Turkey's own suggestion (!), it simply "noted" that there is "no limitation period" for "any new element" to "lead potentialy (sic !) to a Re-Opening of the Investigation". Without saying who might find any such "new" fact, since Turkey stoped searching... It also POSTPONED the issue until .. JUNE  !
-----------------------
 - On the PUNISHMENT OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE :
----------------------
 -  On Gongadze's murder case, Ukranian Authorities already arrested and condemned, at least 2 suspects, to 12 and 13 Years of jail. And on Politkovskaya's murder at least 2 suspects are judged, and a 3rd one "wanted".

On the contrary, on Adali's murder case, the Turkish authorities simply claim that "it had not been possible to obtain new .. information .. on the basis of which criminal charges could be brought against ANY person" !...

Moreover,  a LETTER sent by Turkey ...2 Years after CoE's 2006 call to re-investigate anew Adali's murder case, is totally EMPTY of Facts ! As Cypus' Delegation denounced earlier, Turkey's Letter ONLY CLAIMS that a "New Investigation" was made without any result, but does NOT even cite ANY FACT to prove it :

F.ex.,on the crucial issue of the "MOTIVATIONS" behind Adali's murder, noted by ECHR, Turkey MERELY CLAIMS that "all allegations  were investigated; without result", but OMITS ANY FACT TO PROVE IT !..(It doesn't even remind which were these "allegations").. .

+ On ECHR's astonishment that the Turkish Occupation regime didn't produce any "BALLISTIC REPORT" on the Shots which murdered Adali, Turkey again repeats, 12 years later, that, still, even until now, "it  was not possible to obtain the BalisticReport"...

- As for the astonishing absence of key-WITNESSES' Testimonies, denounced by ECHR, Turkey agains repeats various pretexts avoiding to reveal anything, (Fex. that a person "left" the Occupied Territories  "on 2002", or that another witness was heard, but without revealing nothing of what he said, etc).

Turkey obviously "FAILS TO MEET THE CRITICISM made BY THE COURT" for lack of any efficient Investigation in Adali's case, concluded Cyprus' Government.
---------------------------------------------
Replying to our Question which COMPARED these 3 outstanding cases of "JOURNALISTS MURDERS", Adali, Gongadze and Politkovskaya, in order to avoid "Double Standards" by asking from Ukraine and Russia more than what is asked EU candidate Turkey, many European personalities were critical /

They criticised Ankara's recent claim at the CoE to stop investigating, because it would be "impossible to find anyone" responsible for the 5 bullet shots which killed Kutlu ADALI in front of his Family Home, contrary to the other two Journalists' murders, where Ukraine and Russia at least arrested the executants, searching now for the instigators :
----------------------------------

imag0103_400

    - "Where was that ? In Turkish Occupied Cyprus ? WITHOUT ANY DOUBT : Any murder of Journalist should be investigated in full ! All these Murders must be investigated !", replied the famous SAKHAROV's wife, Elena BONNER to our question on Adali's case, compared to Gongadze and Politofskaya.

    Elena Bonner spoke us EXCLUSIVELY shortly after being honored by the President
of EU Parliament on the occasion of 20 Years of her husband's SAKHAROV Prize.

    A strong personality, Sakharov's wife even had to struggle against an anonymous EU staffer who, astonishingly, tried to stop her speaking when h heard our question on "Turkey" (!) : - "Please, let me translate, she continues
speaking, don't stop us !", had to cry Sakharov's daughter, (a Journalist
herself), who was translating her mothers' reply, (obliged to speak louder to
make her voice heard despite the harassment).. (= + Audio Proof !)

    Earlier, Elena Bonner also fustigated "Double Standards" at another case, on
Western countries' attitude vis a vis Kosovo and the Kurds : -F.ex. "You have
recognized a few 400.000 Kosovars as an "independent" country, but you still
deny that to 30 millions of Kurds in Turkey !", she denounced.
-----------------------------
    - "This (ADALI's murder) is an issue which should be pursued by the Committee
for Human Rights. That's why we have one, and it's its duty to examine cases of
Journalists' murders as the one you referred to. You should bring the case in
front of that Committee", suggested in reply to our question on Adali, EU
Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING.

    - "It's impossible  to achieve goals of PEACE, if HUMAN RIGHTS are left out :
in fact, Peace and Human Rights are intrinsequaly linked", added POETTERING.
--------------------------------------
    + "For us (European/International Federation of Journalists) it's clear :
Whenever a Journalist is Murdered, the Investigation should continue until
those Responsible are found !", replied earlier to another question on ADALI
EFJ/IFJ's Secretary General, Aidan WHITE.

    Speaking as a matter of General Principle, White asked us for "concrete data"
on the execution of ECHR's judgement on Adali case, in order to "look at it in
depth" and "make a formal statement", in comparison with the other Murdered
Journalist case, also pending at CoE's  Ministers for completing its execution,
on Ukranian Gongadze.
----------------------------------------------------
     From EU Rapporteur on Human Rights, vice-President of EU Parliament Liberties' Committee, MEP Giusto CATANIA, we were told that, since there is an ECHR judgement in both Adali and Gongadge's cases, "Turkey must naturally execute the judgement and make a full and efficient investigation, until those responsible for the Journalist's murder are found and punished".

    Even if "we (Catania's "EuroLeft" Group) support Turkey's EU perspectives, this does not mean that Ankara should not behave properly. On the contrary, it means that they have to meet tough conditions, particularly on Human Rights", was added on the occasion of Adali's murder case.

    Moreover, "since you raise the issue of Mr. Adali's muder as a part of a Series of Journalist's murders, including fex. Gongadze, Politkovskaya, ao., tthen we (EU) could also act together with CoE's Commissioner on Human Rights, Thomas HAMMARBERG, it was suggested.

    - "We (EU) must step up efforts against the problem of IMPUNITY : Real Peace cannot exist without Justice",  stressed also this week at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, French Minister on Human Rights, Mrs Rama YADE.
------------------------
                     

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