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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Parliament President Buzek to EuroFora on Zacharov Prize: Free Speech Condition on Cuba + Turkey+

EU Parliament President Buzek to EuroFora on Zacharov Prize: Free Speech Condition on Cuba + Turkey+

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 15 December 2010

EU should respect the same Principle of putting Free Speech Conditions on Economic Aid to 3rd Countries, as in Cuba also in Turkey, etc. and anywhere else in the World it was needed, including in, or close to Europe, replied in substance EU Parliament's President, Jerzy Buzek, to "EuroFora" questions after the Zakharov Prize for Freedom of Speech was attributed to Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, who could only send a written message or speak by phone, but was not allowed by the Cuban Authorities to come to Strasbourg for reasons that they didn't explain, leaving without any reply Buzek's letter to Castro, as he told us.

The move came timely, while EU reportedly prepares to review its economic a.o. relations to Cuba, shortly after both EU Commission's 2010 Annual Report and EU Parliament's Rapporteur on Turkey,  Dutch EPP MEP Ria Oomens-Rujten, slammed Turkey for failing to respect Freedom of Speech by restricting it too much, harassing dissidents, prosecuting them and/or throwing them in prison,  while they also face various other pressure or even aggressions etc, and European Court of Human Rights has recently condemned Ankara, this Autumn 2010, for the way it misbehaves in the landmark case of the cold-blood Murder of Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink, (See "EuroFora"'s NewsReport dated 14/9/2010).


Farinas, a critical Cyber-Journalist at the WWW who has also launched more or less succesful Hunger Strikes asking to free prisoners considered to be political twice in the Past, including in early 2010, was only able to phone and send a text to EU Parliament in Strasbourg, where he was hindered to come for the award of Zakharov Prize, reportedly because he didn't yet receive a Visa from Cuban Authorities (who reportedly have accused him to be a USA-paid agent, while he admitted just to be co-financed by anti-castrists) to travel to France, urging MEPs to keep tight Economic Sanctions against the Cuban regime, (that USA would be ready to partially ease), which is due to hold in 2011 an exceptionally important Congress on the Strategy to follow after its 50th Anniversary.   


- After EU Parliament's President noded personaly rowards "EuroFora" in his Press Conference for the award of the 2010 Zakharov Prize on Freedom of Speech, in a 1st Question, given "the Fact that the winner of (2010) Zakharov Prize is not here", in Strasbourg, to receive it, and that, despite "recent Insufficient Movements (in Cuba) to liberate some out of (52) Prisoners, with the intermediation of the (Christian catholic) Church", he had "said that there are still 11 that remain (in jail)",  we asked him if, at least, he "had got any Reply, direct or indirect, to (his) Letter (to Cuban Authorities), explaining what might be the Pretext for not giving him the Freedom to come here, and what is now the Situation about the rest of the Prisoners. Or didn't you receive nothing, not any Reply ?"

+ Moreover, considering that this "Prize of Freedom of Speech" is "for the Year" 2010,  "during which we had also some Judgements of the ECHR, about other Countries, which are related" to issues of Oppression against Free Speech, "EuroFora" sincerely felt that, " to be Honest, we should do our Duty and try to raise" equally "a 2nd Question .. about such" issues, which "is also Topical" :


- During this same year, 2010 "there was a Judgement of the ECHR on September", "about the well known issue of Freedom of Speech and Life of Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink who was murdered in Turkey", "condemning the fact that No sufficient measures were taken to find out all those who instigated and were really Responsible for the Murder, or accomplices, nor to ensure that they will be all really Punished for that" case of Brutal Killing of a Journalist, "which is closer to us" (EU), given Turkey's controversial and impopular EU accession bid.


=> "Don't you think, Mr. President, that, as a matter of general Principle, Freedom of Thought should be defended" by the EU, in the same way, "EVERYWHERE, f.ex. in  Cuba, Turkey, Russia, France, Germany,  etc., considering even matters which are still going on at this moment that we are speaking ?", we asked Buzek in conclusion.

- Buzek revealed, in reply to "EuroFora"s "1st Question", that he "did not receive any Answer" to his Letter towards Cuban Authorities, which had asked for Farinas to be allowed to visit EU Parliament in Strasbourg for the Zakharov Prize award.

- At least, "it was a fortune that we (EU Parliament) could contact  our Laureat, Guillermo Farinas, and to have something so important for us, like that short Speech (for this occasion", he added.


- "We (EU) have to place Conditions to our (EU's) openess ..., we (EU) can't be Unconditionally Open... ". "Wherever there is an Improvement on Human Rights and the Rule of Law, then, there are better Trade Relations and closer Cooperation as a result, F.ex. Visas ...granted, etc". "We (EU) have to be clear about what our position is". "This is an important Signal" to be "sent". "EU and other "Democratic Countries took a Similar approach", "just like" that, "with other ....Countries in the Past", f.ex. in the case of "(former) Central-Eastern European Countries", Buzek reminded earlier, as a matter of Principle.

- "I have no doubt that it's the case" also for Cuba, he replied previously to another Journalist's question, who observed that, f.ex., "Farinas raised 5 Conditions". -"Without Permanent Trade and Contacts with Wealthy, Democratic Countries it's very Difficult for Cuba to cope in the current Economic Situation", because "Cuba has Economic Difficulties". Thus, "the Cuban Authorities need to Open up to the World, and they need to loosen up, in a Democratic Direction, inside the Country", Buzek concluded in this particular example.

+ Thus, concerning "the last, 2nd Question" by "EuroFora", on the comparison with recent ECHR findings on Turkey, and the Principle that respect of basic Human Rights as Free Speech should be a condition in all EU's Economic Aid to any Country, etc., (See supra + infra), Buzek strongly stressed from the outset that he agreed with us :


- "I can answer you very shortly : - "Yes !"", EU Parliament's President replied to this "EuroFora"s observation,  (See supra). - "Human Rights should be object of such action by the EU also" elsewhere, he stressed.

 - "And you have also Independent Institutions which are taking care about such issues", both in and out the EU, Buzek  added, apparently pointing at NGO's, Courts, etc.
    Precisely, ECHR strongly condemned Turkey this Autumn 2010 for grossly violating Freedom of Speech and the Human Right to Life in the case of the cold-blood Murder of Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink, denouncing an impressive series of misgievings, including, f. ex. the fact that, even if Turkish Authorities knew about Plans to kill him, they didn't protect him at all, but on the contrary ...prosecuted the victim, together with those who had planned his murder (!), and afterwards, until now (2010), dragged their feet, didn't really try to make any efficient Enquiry to search and find all those Responsible for instigating, planning and executing the Murder, even covered up apparent complicities at various levels, or provocative sympathy to the suspected Murderer (even of Turkish Policemen notoriously photographed lauphing together with the No 1 suspected Killer under extremist banners !), practically leaving until now totally Unpunished even several Turkish Officers who had failed to accomplish their Duty, by "stopping", "rejecting" or Time-barring "all procedures" which raised questions on their Responsibilities, while even "Suspicions that a Turkish Police's Chief would have revealed his own UltraNationalistic views and supported the suspected Killers", "were not seriously investigated", as EuroJudges found...
    Another Strasbourg-based Organisation, CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland (Norway), was also obliged to officially award another Prize in the absence of the recipient a few days earlier, concerning the Nobel Prize attributed to dissident Liu Xiaobo of China.   

    In the case of 2 other Cuban dissidents also awarded EU Parliament's Zacharov prize in the Past, and dissident Oswaldo Paya (2002),  and "Damas in Blanco" (the Ladies in White), wifes and family relatives of prisoners (2005), Paya could come, while the women's group was only alowed to visit EU Parliament 2 Years later. - "I hope for Farinas it will be shorter",  Buzek concluded in reply to another Journalist afterwards in the same Press Conference, after pointing at a "Cuban Flag" that he had placed at the empty chair.

    On Turkey, only one (1) Dissident, former MP Leyla Zana, was awarded the Zacharov prize, back in 1995, but she was also hindered to come then to Strasbourg, as she was still imprisoned in Turkish Jails, from which her Husband had just walked out, after being Prisoner for more than 15 Years. Zana finished her jail term later on, but her Son was reportedly also targetted by Turkish Authorities pushing to arrest and jail him under various accusations recently, while even herself faced anew threats, harassment, accusations, and prosecutions, even before Hundrends of recently Elected pro-Kurdish Minority's Mayors and Regional counselors were massively arrested in 2009 and most still kept in Prison today, persecuted by Turkish Courts who only started to judge them recently, almost 2 Years after arresting them practicaly the day after the were elected...
    The main point for EU and its Citizens obviously is that, whatever Cuba's misgivings might be, at least, Havana is not claiming, as Turkey does, to be paid nearly a Billion € from EU Funds each year, nor asks to enter inside the EU (bringing at the Heart of Europe a Risky climate of Impunity and even several dangerous unpunished Criminals : Comp. supra for ECHRs findings on Turkey) , contrary to what Ankara's controversial and impopular EU bid claims. So that EU standards on respecting basic Human Rights as Freedom of Speech should normally be more elevated, concerning "candidate" and neighbouring Turkey, than far away Cuba, and, at any case, certainly not lower...

    Thus, several MEPs from various EU Member Countries had already asked, if not to stop EU - Turkey controversial "Open-ended" Negotiations, at least to drop, freeze or suspend, all or at least a part of EU's Funding (more than 800 Millions €, almost a Billion €, each Year,  even during the current Global Financial Crisis, when EU Citizens and EU itself face severe Cuts) given to Turkish Authorities who blatantly disrespect Human Rights, Democracy and/or Rule of Law, including, f.e. such mainstream MEPs of the Governing Majority in Germany, ChristianDemocrat MEPs Ingeborg Graessle and Monika Hohlmeier, who have already tabled relevant Amendments on the occasion of Critical observations on Turkey by the EU Court of Auditors, and would intend to repeat that again until it succeeds to attract a Majority of votes in EU Parliament, as they earlier told "EuroFora".


    Something that might eventually interest also, not only the President of EU Parliament's Budget Committee, French MEP and former EU Minister Alain Lamassoure, but also EU Commissioner in charge of Budgets, Lewandovski from Poland, a strong supporter of EU Cohesion funding for EU Citizens, notoriously threatened by current fund Cuts' prospects, who, by a Symbolic coincidence, were this week filmed and published by EbsTV while speaking to "EuroFora" right in front of a huge placard on EU Parliament's Zacharov Prize for Freedom of Speech...  (See Photo)


    But, while the Cuban Government didn't give yet any reply to EU Parliament's President, Jerzy Buzek's letter on Farinas' freedom to travel, as he revealed in reply to "EuroFora"s question (see supra), on the contrary, the Turkish Authorities, after vain, bellied promisses, found a crystal-clear way to "reply" to ECHR's condemnation for practically covering-up, until 2010, with scandalous Impunity almost all of those involved, in one way or another,  in the instigation, preparation, execution and/or cover up of the real complicities to the cold-blood Murder of Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink :


- Shortly after ECHR's judgement was published on Autumn 2010, Turkish courts reportedly have just scandalized even a part of the Turkish Press by recently deciding to treat the only arrested suspect as a .. "Kid", i.e. so that he could any way be released free after only a few years... That recent Turkish move obviously abuses of tactics which have already been denounced, f.ex. on recent Killings of Religious persons in Turkey, to stop enquiries, by merely designating a young man as if he was alone to blame, and afterwards qualify him as a "child", f.ex. when he's aged 17 or so, as a pretext to release him soon free, so that those really responsible for the murders remain hidden in Impunity...


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Brixen-Bressnone/ACM/10 August 2008


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