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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU+CoE after Turkey Refusal to Cooperate on ECHR:"Unacceptable"(Austrian Amb to EF),Funds,Judges,MPs

EU+CoE after Turkey Refusal to Cooperate on ECHR:"Unacceptable"(Austrian Amb to EF),Funds,Judges,MPs

Written by ACM
Friday, 05 October 2018





*Strasbourg/EU Parliament+CoE/Thursday+Friday/Angelo Marcopolo/- After Turkey's unprecedented Refusal to Cooperate for the Implementation of ECHR's Judgements on manifold Human Rights Violations in Cyprus, (See : ...), a move that CoE's Highest Political Body : its Committee of Ministers, "Deplored", and that EU President Austria's Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Gerhard Jandl, speaking to "Eurofora", also strongly Criticized as "UnAcceptable", (See Infra), EU Parliament's Plenary decided to definitively "Cancel" a Part of Funds initially earmarked for Ankara, while the competent CoE's body Rejected a List of Turkish Judges Candidates for the ECHR, and CoE's PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) is due to Check, Next Week in Strasbourg, the Credentials of Turkish MEPs, regarding Conditions which are defined widely enough in order to eventually put Sanctions also in such cases, as PACE's Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, told "Eurofora", inter alia, possibly Start-Kicking a Growing SnowBall of various Repercussions, that might Evolve much further in the foreseable Future.


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- EU Parliament expresed "Concern" for a "Continuing Deterioration", "and for "Turkey's Further Drifting Away from European Values", nowadays, particularly concerning "Fundamental Rights and Freedoms", as well as "the Rule of Law", as it was stressed in a Resolution Adopted by a Big Majority of 544 MEPs, against Only 28, Earlier this week in Strasbourg's Plenary Session.


=> As a 1st Step, MEPs Definitively, "Fully Cancelled" Now 105 Millions € from Turkey's "Pre-Accession Aid", which had been initially "Frozen", in the execution of EU's Budget for 2018. Instead, EU Parliament prefered to Transfert such Funds mainly towards Africa, but also Syria, etc., in order to Help Face more Serious Needs, (f.ex. "along the Central Mediterranean Migratory Route", etc), according to a Resolution on an "Amending Budget", Drafted by ChristianDemocrat/EPP's mainstream MEP Siegfried Mureşan from Romania.


EU Council and Parliament had previously Agreed that the initially Frozen Amounts ("put in a Reserve"), would have been only Released IF Turkey made "Measurable sufficient Improvements in the Fields of Rule of Law, Democracy, Human Rights and Press Freedom". But, already, EU Commission's Annual Report on Turkey, from April 2018, confirmed Unequivocally a Backsliding of the rule of law, democracy and human rights", clearly revealing that "the Conditions" had "Not been met" for that, on the Contrary... (Comp. Supra).


-----------


+ While it remains, still, to be seen what exactly will happen, on this point, with EU's New Budget for the Year of 2019, (whose Draft will be Soon Debated and Voted in Strasboug, starting from Later this Month : End of October 2018+),


 it's, However, true, that the main Bulk of EU Money for Turkey now comes from a much Bigger Amount of + 3 Billions € in full Grants per Year, that Ankara had Obtained since 2015 after a notorious Blackmail exerted on the EU via that 2015-2016 UnPrecedented Big "Tsunami" of more than 1,5 Millions of Mass Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants, which was Suddenly thrown into the EU, through Turkey's Borders to EU Member Greece.


Even if consistent UNHCR and IMO Data clearly prove that, in fact, that "Tsunami" started to be Stoped by the Closure of Borders at Victor Orban's Hungary, which rapidly incited also Other European Countries accross the Western Balkans Route, to Close also their own Borders, in order not to be Trapped in the Middle of such Huge Population Movements, (See : ..., etc), nevertheless, EU continues to Pay Turkey, Despite the Fact that it does Not really meet its Commitments in full, not even there, since, Nowadays, even more Mass Irregular Migration towards EU Member Greece continues, and Returns are Not Really working well.

 

Moreover, an Interesting Amendment tabled by MEPs who asked for "a proper (EU) Monitoring mechanism" to be Established on Turkey "in order "to Identify the correct Allocation of Funds", just slightly missed, now, a Majority for only 13 out of 656 MEPs (sic !), Dividing EU Parliament in 2 almost Equal Parts... Already, EU's Court of Auditors and EU Parliament's Budget Control Comittee (COCOBU) had Earlier Criticized the Lack of Clarity and Transparency in the way that Turkish Officials were handling EU Funds in the Past.


As for Turkey's current Financial Needs, they apparently seem Growing recently, inter alia, given also the Latest Sharp Fall of the Turkish Lira, added to a High Inflation, several Downgradings of Ankara's Debt credit by International Rating Companies, and IMF's apparent Reluctance to continue Funding Turkey, (something that its Economy Minister has already Excluded since August), etc.


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But, while EU's main Attention on Mass Irregular Migration is curently moving towards Africa, Turkey's recent Behavior at the CoE (Comp. Supra) has just Opened a New Front of UnPrecedented Problems for Europe :

 

- Thus, given also the Obvious Dangers for the PanEuropean Mechanism of Human Rights' Protection, if Other Countries started to more or less imitate Turkey in its Recent Blunt Refusal to Cooperate with CoE's Highest Political Body (its Committee of Ministers) for the Implementation of ECHR's Judgments on the numerous landmark cases of Human Rights massive and continuing Violations in Cyprus' Occupied Teritories by Ankara's Foreign Military Troops, the current Austrian Presidency of the EU (July - December 2018) Started to react :


- "This is UnAcceptable, of course !", clearly Denounced the EU Austrian Presidency's representative inside the CoE, (and, therefore, Head of the Majority Group of 28 EU Member Countries amonga Total of 47 Member States'  of the CoE), new Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Gerhard Jandl, speaking to "Eurofora" Yesterday in EU Parliament, on the occasion of another Collective Meeting there.


- In fact, the Turkish Delegation had even ...Deserted its Desk, during CoE's Ministers recent Debate on Human Rights Violations in Cyprus by Turkey, condemned in several ECHR's Judgements, Refusing to Speak to anyone, Neither to Reply to Questions raised by CoE's Top Body...


- Exerting an obvious, blunt Blackmail, Ankara's Government, in fact, Refused to Cooperate with the CoE for the Implementation of ECHR's Judgements which have notoriously Condemned Turkey for Massive and Continuing Violations of Human Rights of Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced persons and "Missing" People, since the 1974 Military Invasion/Occupation of the Northern Territries of the Island, ...Demanding from the CoE to Definitively ...STOP its Efforts to Implement ECHR's Rulings on landmark Cases of Individual Applications by the Victims, (such as the World-Famous "Loizidou" case of a Woman Refugee/IDP, but even in Many Other Recent Individual Cases of ECHR's Judgements, such as "Xenides-Aresti", etc), even if ECHR's case-law has Not yet been fully respected in real practice !


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- Already, ECHR's President, Italian Judge Guido Raimondi, speaking Earlier to "Eurofora", regretted that, "indeed", all these Cyprus' Refugees/Displaced persons Cases "seem to be Blocked", as he had already Warned, while Turkey's explicit Threats had started to circulate in Strasboug after the Summer.
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=> It's in such an UnPrecedented Context, that, inter alia, Recently, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly's (PACE's) competent Commission Asked to Reject all 3 Turkish Candidates for a Job inside the ECHR in Strasbourg, in an Official Proposal due to be Debated and Voted by PACE's Plenary Session Next Week in Strasbourg.


+ Most Important : CoE's Assembly is due to Examine and Decide on the Ratification, or Not, of the Credentials of All the National Delegation of Turkish MEPs, here Next Week, following the recent Parliamentary Elections in Turkey, PACE's Officials told Strasbourg Journalists, including "Eurofora", Today, Friday, during a CoE's Press-Briefing.


=> Replying to a relevant "Eurofora"s Question evoking Turkey, the Experienced CoE Assembly's Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, clearly stressed that PACE's Rules of Procedure use a sufficiently "Wide Wording", concerning the Conditions for which a Delegation's Credentials may be contested, including, inter alia, also, f.ex., a CoE's Member State's Commitment to Cooperate with the PACE's "Monitoring" Committee, and/or its Legal/Human Rights and Political Committees, on the Verification of its main Obligations, (etc).


+ In such a Context, it's not really a Surprize  PACE's Legal and Human Rights' Committee's forthcoming Hearing (Next Tuesday in Strasbourg) of a Top CoE's Legal Expert on the Key Issue of "the Implementation of ECHR's Judgements" Nowadays, in view of the Preparation of an Official CoE Report on that matter by former Long-Time Greek Foreign Minister and vice Prime Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, will be finally held ...Behind Closed Doors ("in camera"), i.e. withOut any presence of Independent Press, (as "Eurofora" was told....

+++ Meanwhile, PACE's SG, Sawicki, speaking afterwards to "Eurofora", with an Interogative mood, told us that, "Personaly, I have Not yet Heard something of that kind on Turkey", (i.e. on its MEPs' Credentials' contestation).


But it wasn't excluded that something relevant might occur, either Now (i.e. during Next Monday's PACE Plenary), or on January 2019...

+ Otherwise, in the Meantime, Turkey, paradoxicaly intends to keep All the Augmented MEPs' Posts in the PACE, which had been awarded by the CoE to Ankara when it had Promised to Pay a Higher Annual Financial Contribution to CoE's Annual Budget  equal to those of "Big Payers" (such as Germany, Russia, France, Italy, etc), Regardless of the Fact that, soon Afterwards, suddenly, the Turkish Government had anounced its decision to Stop Short of Paying such a Contribution, and Return Back to a Lower, Less Expensive version...


Some claimed (in Reply to Other Journalists' Questions) that this Recent Exceptional Augmentation of the Number of Turkish MEPs in the PACE would have No Relation with Ankara's earlier promise (Now Bellied) to become a "Big Payer" for the CoE. But it's also a Fact that Both Moves had been Initially Announced by the CoE at the Same Time ...

 

(../..)

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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

adali_gongadze


- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

imag0335_400


      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
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ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
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    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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