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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

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*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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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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