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Home arrow newsitems arrow Sarkozy agrees with Obama a strong EU Defence in NATO, but Turkey a.o. keep the brakes on..

Sarkozy agrees with Obama a strong EU Defence in NATO, but Turkey a.o. keep the brakes on..

Written by ACM
Friday, 03 April 2009
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 The quite good personal relations between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and new USA President Barack Obama, added to their explicit agreement for a "strong EU Defence policy" between "partrers", could have convinced that fears expressed by dissidents on France's famous Gaulist "independence" could be excessive in a "Nea Era" starting now in Euro-American relations, if it wasn't for Turkey's moves in NATO's Summit, which provoked unanswered questions..

Turkish reported obstruction on election of new NATO SG, would dash Sarkozy's hopes for smooth EU - NATO relations after France's full reintegration ?

- "President Obama wants a strong alliance, he wants  defence able to stand on its own feet !", stressed French President Nicolas Sarkory, after his 1h talks with the new American President, shortly after his venue in Strasbourg.

- "We (USA) don't look how to be EU's patron. We are looking to be partners", echoed the American President in reply.America has promissed to help Europe, and Europe has promissed to help America, that's why during all Cold War NATO didn't have to fire a shot to protect Western Europe from any eventual threat Eastwards, from the former Soviet Union, added Obama. 

With the new "Climate of Confiance" between Europe and America, US could agree more easily on the development of European Defence, said to "EuroFora" NATO's Policy Director, Jamie Shea. At any case, NATO cannot be Europe's defence : EU has to create its own Defence, and develop its own capabilities, he added.


Well informed sources, on the sidelines of the on-going NATO's Summit in Strasbourg,  indicated to "EuroFora" that, in fact, "France's return to NATO's military commandment had already started, progressively,  since .. 1994", because of Balkan wars. Step by step, similar moves were extended later, following other crisisn, which needed to send soldiers and military equipment abroad, inside multinational or international teams.

Critics, however, did'nt point only to the US itself, but also to "the UK, Turkey, Poland, as former PM Dominique Villepin reportedly observed the same day. Villepin was with Dupont-Aignant and other dissidents from the governing party, who came, eartlier this week to Strasbourg to voice his dissent, anouncing an independent list to the June 2009 EU Elections, which respect proportionality of votes, instead of the majority-takes-all national election system in France.

German Chancellor Angie Merkel has already clearly stressed that EU must discuss with the new American President how to overcome a "Turkey and Cyprus" issue, as she called the "regrets" expressed by an EU Parliament's Resolution on March in Strasbourg, for Ankara's "obstruction" against a smooth EU - NATO cooperation in all cases, asking them to "drop" it asap.

In brief, Turkey perisists to block EU - NATO joint activities each time they involve EU Member Cyprus that Ankara still refuses to recognize, despite a crystal-clear EU call, since 21 September 2005, which "may affect" even more gravely its controcersial EU bid if it's not corrected before the end of 2009..

A "New Start" on efforts to solve this issue, eventually with a fresh "Package" deal, including EU moves on Cyprus, appeared probable on the sidelines of Strasbourg's 2 Days Summit, according to NATO's experienced former Spokesman, and current Policy Director, Jamie Shea, as he said to "EuroFora".


But, once again, Turkey intervened : Now it's about Ankara's objections against Danish Prime Minister,  Anders Fogh Rasmussen's candidacy as new NATO's Secretary General, which should, in principle, be decided by the Heads of State/Government Summit, tonight.

New US President Obama reportedly backed Rasmussen's candidacy, and most of his EU partners apparently agreed.  But Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan accused Rasmussen in public to be impopular among some Islamic movements, because he had defended freedom of expression against some excessive reactions to the provocations by a controversial artist in the famous case of  anti-Moameth "Cartoons", that hilmself had also condemned, but not censored.

But, facts indicate that, the real reasons for which Turkey might block the election Danish PM at NATOs Summit would be much more selfish : Denmark has had, indeed, in the past also another "Freedom of Expression" row vis a vis Turkey itself, on a Kurdish language Radio-TV.

Buit the most important seems to be the InterState application lodged by the Danish Government agains Turkey for Torture/Inhuman-Degrading treatments, by offering protection to a Danish Citizen of Turkish origin, who had denounced that torture was largely practiced by Ankara.

Later on, Denmark and Turkey agreed to drop the case by "Friendly Agreement", earlier in Strasbourg, once Ankara promissed to eradicate Torture all over the Country, and to take, all necessary measures to fight against Impnity and Inhuman and degrading treatments.

However, EU Parliament's latest Resolution oin Tukey, adopted in 2009, denounces, on the contrarry, the fact that the Number of reported cases of Torture "is growing" in the country...

So that, if anyone denounced this fact into CoE's Committee of Ministers, then, Ankara would be anew exposed for persistent failure to comply with ECHR's judgements on a core-Human Rights issue..

Now, it might be that it wasn't so much Liberal Rasmussen himself, bur rather his ChristianDemocrat Foreign Minister, Per Stig Moller, of another party, who could have been more active on such issues..

But, at any case, a brake is a brake, ... unless all this was just hard bargaining behind closed doors... .

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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?
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CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...

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Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..

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"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock

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"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"

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PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.

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Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...

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2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?

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