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Αρχική arrow newsitems arrow French Regions' President Richert quits + points at Identity+General Interest, in Mystery..

French Regions' President Richert quits + points at Identity+General Interest, in Mystery..

Έχει γραφτεί από ACM
Saturday, 30 September 2017
president_of_great_east_region_philippe_richert_looking_at_agg_eurofora_400

*Strasbourg/Great East Region HQ/Angelo Marcopolo/- The most Experienced French "Regionalist" Top Politician, at EU's Core area of Strasbourg, the ChristianDemocrat/EPP President of the New "Great East" Region, which unites together the Borders of 5 Key European Countries, (France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium), but also holding Important Nation-Wide Responsibilities, such as President of the Association of French Regions, former Minister of DeCentralisation, etc., (See Infra), Philippe Richert, surprized many People by suddenly announcing that he resigns, ("for General Interest" reasons, as he said). By a coincidence amidst a lot of various, more or less relevant Political and other exceptional Developments nowadays going on around such an unprecedented event, which still leaves some questions pending, keeping a part of Mystery, (See Infra) mixed with natural Emotions.

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EXPERIENCE/STOCK TAKING
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prichert_speech_eurofora_400


 Philippe Richert, during more than 34 Years of Service as an important Elected Politician at the Top of various Public Authorities, has held, f.ex., the Office of Senate's vice-President, (something which made some Countries to Welcome him almost "as a Head of State/Government"), Minister of Decentralisaton and Territories, President of the Department of Lower Rhine, President of Alsace Region, and, afterwards, of the "Great East" Region, President of the Nation-Wide Association of French Regions, (etc).


Used to be personally involved in Franco-German cooperation, (including f.ex. at the "Superior Rhine"/OberRhine structure, together with Switzerland too, as f.ex. at its landmark 2010 Meeting at nearby Offenburg, with the then EU affairs Minister Hoyer, nowadays EIB's President, See: ..., but also with the Trans-Border Civil Society and even the Hohenzollern Royal Familly : See ..., as well as in the creation of "Euro-Campus" Franco-Germano-Swiss University/Research Integration project from 2016, See: ...), he regretted, however, Today, for "Not having done yet as much as we are able to do on Trans-Border Cooperation recently", since he took over the heavry Responsibilities of the New, "Great East" Region around Strasbourg, and the Presidency of all French Regions' Association.


=> "Eurofora"'s co-Founder had the opportunity to make many Publications on President Richert's activities, particularly on various Replies he kindly gave to our Questions and/or other Statements, on several Topical Issues, during almost 2 Decades, (among others, See, f.ex. also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/christiansprotestants.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/regionalelections.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/sarkozymerkelforeuintegration.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/ufmediterraneanurbandevelopmentsummit.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/schaublemnacehollandecontretraiteeurzone.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/xavierbertrand.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/worldforumfordemocracy.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/alsacereferendumresults.html , http://www.eurofora.net/brief/brief/alsacenotoalcaponearea.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/sarkozyautonomousalternativewinsregions.html   , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/franceregionelelectionsrepublicanswithgreensorfnrightistsforstrasbourg.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/alsacepresidentrichertonacaleuropeanprojects.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newbigfrenchregionheadricherton5eustatesandchina.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/strasbourgregionpresidentrichertandfrencheconomyministermacrononhighspeedinternet.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/1stregionsoffranceconventionatreimsand2017choices.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchprimeministervallsonhightechfunding.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchregionspresidentricherttoeurofora.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/francogermancoreregionleaderseyescienceandethics.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/fillonforculturetorevivefranceandeurope.html , rel.+ https://twitter.com/angemarc3/status/913569739565338625 , etc).


Among the Numerous and Manifold concrete Realisations boosted here by Richert, he mentioned, Today, f.ex., also :      
- the Creation of the "Memorial" for Alsace - Lorraine, the "Spacecraft for Sciences",  the restoration of the majestic "Castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg", the World-Famous "Lalique" Museum (on Crystal Artworks), "Lichtenberg Castle",  the "Alsacian Archeology" entity, the "New Archives", etc, in addition to a sustained support to the Regional Economy.


Most of all, Richert pointed at a Recent move to spread Modern Very High Speed Internet Connexions all accross the Region's Urban and Rural areas, from Cities to Small Villages included, proud to Help make this Region "the 1st in France" to achieve such a result, which aims to Avoid any "Gaps" or "Digital Divide" between Citizens, as he stressed. This Pioneer Program had been Launched in Srasbourg together with the then Minister of Economy, and Today new French President, Emmanuel Macron, (See "Eurofora"s NewsReport from that event at : ....).


+ However, at the Same Time, we managed to re-organize the New "Great East" Ragion's overall activities in a way that "we Spared almost -1 Billion € per Year", compared with what used to be spend for all those Territories in the Past, he pointed out, as far as Financial Economies are concerned.


 - Before I Started Politics, I was just a College Professor of Sciences, more interested on ... "Butterflies", joked Phiippe Richert, but, after being Elected from the 1st Time with more than 75% of the Votes, +34 Years Later, I've had the Chance to meet more than "16 Prime Ministers, and 15 Prefects", but also "the Pope, the Dalai-Lama, the Brittish Queen, etc", and Travelled around for a total of about 300.000 kms, as he characteristically noted,  smiling...


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Historic+ IDENTITY
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Topically Speaking at the immediate Aftermath of the Elections at Neighbouring Germany, where mainstream Media and Politicians observed a growing Popular Demand to preserve that key European Country's cultural a.o. Identity, particularly after the Recent "Tsunami" of more than 1,5 Millions of Mass Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants through Turkey from 2015-2016, (mainly Muslim Migrants from the Middle-East or Central Asia, etc, Turkish agents reportedly Dissuading Christian Minorities and/or Qualified People, according to EU Leaks from Brussels), and even of an UnRelated, Controversial Independence Referendum Attempt in Catalonia, scheduled for Tomorrow, Sunday, Richert surprized by Focusing, for the 1st Time so openly, on "Identity":


- "We have Not Finished yet our Work on the Issue of Identity", and "Today, this is the main Question" raised, Richert stressed.


 Shortly Before he spoke, Strasbourg's main Local Newspaper "DNA" had just Published a Petition, signed by more than a Hundrend various Local/Regional Personalities, which Ask ro Restore "Alsace Region" strenghened by "Additional Competences" on "Culture, Language, Education", as well as "Trans-Border Cooperation and Economy".
They referred to Polls showing that "84% of the Population" was "Favorable for Alsace to quit the (much Wider) Great East Region", (CSA, 4/2017 : backed also by Similar, more Recent Polls cited by "DNA", f.ex. of "Radio Nuée Bleue", etc), in order to avoid "degrading its Specificity", but, on the contrary, both "preserve its Past, and build its Future", by "Continuing its History and personality", also through "its Rhenan and European mission".


Richert had been Criticized by some in the Past for accepting to become on 2016 President of the New and Bigger "Great East" Region, which includes the Pre-Existing Regions of Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardennes, according to a controversial 2015 Reform of France's Regional Structures, imposed by former French President Hollande, (a "Socialist"), allegedly in order to make Financial Economies in Logistics, and Bigger/Stronger new Regions, (even if this implied to bring together some "Heterogeneous Territories, which did Not know Eachother" yet, as he acknowledged).


But, as he Reminded Today, Richert, himself a former Alsace Region President for years, had Initially struggled to Defend the pre-existing Structure, organized a Popular Referendum for the creation of a stronger "Alsace Council" Merging Together that Region with its 2 Departments (Districts) of Superior and Lower Rhine, led Public Demonstrations against the Change pushed by Hollande (Comp. Supra), and even backed a Legal Complaint against it, up to the country's Highest Judges (its "Constitutional Court"), etc., in vain, given the Former Government's insistence. Thus, he had been practically Obliged to Lead his (Center-Right) Party's campaign in the Elections for that New, Bigger "Great East" Region, (which Merged 3 pre-existing, smaller regions : Comp. Supra), in order to Prevent the Risk for Rightists of the "National Front" (led by MEP Philippot) to snatch the Top Job. And he Brillantly Won that Popular Vote, (See: ... + ...).


- In fact, "I think that we Need to Keep such Identities" (as "Alsace"', "Lorraine", "Champagne-Ardennes", etc), the Experienced Top Regionalist of France went on to add Now, inter alia, also for the "Needs to Export towards International" areas, where, f.ex., "the Brand <<Made in Alsace>> was Adopted Initially by 5.000 Businesses, whose Number recently Grew up to 7.000, (the last-one being the well known De Dietrich Company)".


+ Moreover, "We Need such Identities", mainly "Because", in addition to their "History", they represent also "a Geographical, Human, and Political Reality", he stressed.


- F.ex., "Alsace pre-Existed even Before the creation of the Region named Alsace" : i.e. , already in the "Ancient" era of "Austrasia", (Eastern Franc Kingdom), etc. And Historians speak about what they call the "Alsace of Humanism", when "several Philosophers around Europe came here to exchange at Selestat" city, he reminded, inter alia.

>>> Therefore, 'the Question of Identity was at the Heart of my Work", President Philippe Richert underlined.


- And, even if also the New French "President (Macron) and Prime-Minister (Philippe) told me that they do Not intent to restore the Alsace Region" as it was before, nevertheless, other Possibilities exist in Practice :
=> - F.ex., "we can always Merge Together the 2 Departments of Superior and Lower Rhine, in order to Create 1 New Department throughout All Alsace area, which might even be called "Alsace Council", and "Negotiate (with the French State) the Addition of some More Competences", he suggested, in this regard.


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ACT for GENERAL INTEREST/VALUES/CITIZENS
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+ But President Philippe Richert's main and longest Plaidoyerie, during his landmark, Final Speech, Today, was Focused on the Principle of "General Interest" Action for "Values" and the "Citizens", as he stressed many times :


 - Indeed, the question of "Values", "is Not a Detail which would come Afterwards", but, on the contrary, an Important matter which "comes First" of all, he stressed from the outset.


- F.ex., if "I Believe in (Territorial) DeCentralisation, it's because it allows to come Closer to the Citizens, and this Helps Democracy to work Better" : That's why I am a real, convinced Regionalist", he pointed out.
>>> In Fact, "Act in the Name of those People who Voted for You, is a Heavy Responsibility, but also  an Extraordinary Opportunity !", underlined Richert, as a matter of General Principle.


- And, in this regard, as a Philosopher used to say : "We are what we are Doing", because "Ideas are Not made in order to be Thought, but in order to Live according to them" in real practice. In other words :  "Speak Less, but take Action !", he concluded.


=> This went as far as to even ...Motivate his Decision to Resign Today, also by "the General Interest" to give a Chance to his Successors to have enough Time in order to Better "Prepare the Next Elections", as he said, (See Infra).


 - "Stand always United and Work Together, for the General Interest, for our Citizens !", concluded President Richert in his Last Message at Strasbourg's "Great East" Region's Members of his Political Majority Today, who largely Applauded.


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MYSTERY (+ Emotions)
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Many were Surprized by Richert's anouncement that he Resigns Today : Indeed, he has just been brillantly Elected as President of the New Big Region of Strasbourg : "Great East", only about 1,5 Year ago (December 2015 - September 2017), and still had about 3 or 4 Years more to run in this mandate, up to 2021.


Even some among the few who reportedly "knew" that he was considering to eventually resign Before the End of his current Mandate, (as, f.ex., Local French Strasbourg's Newspaper "DNA"s experienced Head of Politcal News, Fortier, etc), several acknowledged, speaking to "Eurofora", that, at least they "did Not Know When" he might do so...


Philippe Richert is aged just 64 Years Today (1953-2017). I.e. he's Younger than New US President Don Trump (aged 71 : 1946-2017). And even More Younger than Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, probable New President of Parliament, who has just Celebrated, at Nearby Offenburg, his 75th Anniversary, together with EU Commission's President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and German Chancellor Angie Merkel, (See "Eurofora"'s NewsReport from the Offenburg : ...)


Therefore, "It's Not a matter of Age", Richert was obliged to say, as far as his unexpected decision to resign now is concerned. But, it might be "a matter of Seniority", (I.e. for having served in Politics for a too Long Period of Time), he added.


Indeed, he has been serving as an Elected Politician, at various Public Authorities, more than 34 Years now, (1982-2017), he reminded. According to some Estimations "I've been Working for the General Interest and the Republic during more than 150.000 Hours", he joked, (counting only actual Working Time)...


Bad lack : It's just a Week ago that all German Medias reminded the Fact that his Neighbour, Schäuble, (Freshly Re-Elected as MP also for the forthcoming period of 2017-2021), has already completed ... 45 Years of service as MP (1972 - 2017), in addition to various Ministerial posts, etc.


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


What was, then, the Real Reason for Richert's Sudden Resignation ?
Could it be, simply because of a Recent "Hot" Disagreement with current French Prime Minister Philippe, for his Refusal to Keep a Promise given by his Predecessor, former Prime Minister Valls before the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections of 2017, concerning the Global Budget of All Regions of France, which was reportedly Diminished Now with  -350 Millions € Less than expected for the Next Year of 2018 ?


Indeed, the fact that such a promise, initially given by Valls at the Annual Congress of the Association of "Regions of France" on 2016 in Reims, (Comp. "Eurofora"s NewsRaports from Reims, then, f.ex. : ...), and subsequently Endorsed even by the Parliament, was, finally, Droped by Philippe at the 2017 Congress in Orleans, (reportedly because of the Need to make an effort for Economies in France's overall Budget), provoked Strong Reactions by most Presidents of Regions : It resulted, inter alia, also to their Exceptional Decision to immediatelly Stop any Concertation with the current National Government, until this Problem is Solved, and "Trust" restored, between the Regions and the State, as an Official Decision has just Announced...


Richert, who has also been Elected President of the National Assiociation of "French Regions" since 2016, Explained that exceptional move Today, by saying that, even "More Important than hose -350 Millions €" Cut from their initial Budget for 2018, "is the Principle of Mutual Respect, Respect to Commitments, and Fairness, on which we could build the Future", as he critically said now.


But, at any case, those Differences were, in fact, an obviously Collective Issue, felt and endorsed by Most if not all the Regions of the country, and explicitly Supported by all the competent Collective Bodies of that Organisaion... So that Not Only the Independence of the Regions made normally Impossible, even for a Top State Official as f.ex. the current Prime Minister, to eventually Oblige the President of the Association of French Regions to Resign, but, Moreover, any such attempt would also be Useless, since Most Presidents of Regions supported that Collective Decision, (Comp. Supra).


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


Thus, Richert really had to Explain his Decision to Resign Now, basically by claiming that this would be Necessary, in real Practice, in order to Give Suffisient Time to his Successor, to Prepare himself, his Agenda and his Team, for the Next Elections to the "Great East" Region. I.e. something, apparently, Logical, at least at First Sight, considering also Richert's Long-Serving presence at the Head of local Departments or Regions in Strasbourg's area, during Many Years.


But, nevertheless, it's also a Fact that, Between Now and the Next Regional Elections, it's a quite Long Distance : Almost 4 Years, from 2017 until 2021. I.e., obviously Too Long if it's only to "Prepare" those Elections...


In consequence, given alsoo that Richert did Not mention any ecentual Health or Other Reason for such a, Exceptionally Precocious Departure, Observers were, inevitably, pushed into Speculating Either about a possible imminent Political ReOrientation of certain key Parties in France, (f.ex., including a Recent Division inside the Rightist Party of Marine Le Pen's "National Front", added to the probable Election of former Minister, and currenty Region President, Alain Wauquiez, at the Head of mainstream Center-Right "Republican" Party, founded by former President Nicolas Sarkozy ; added also to parallel ReStructuring of the "Socialist" Party, etc), or, Otherwise, about some Other Factor, Hidden and Fishy, (f.ex., perhaps, Threatened by anyone ?, etc)...


To Dissipate such possible Concerns, Richert said that "Nobody Asked" him "to Resign", and undertook full responsiblity for that decision.


However, given all the above-mentioned Facts, several People may, obviously, still Think Otherwise, and still Wonder about UnAnswered Questions on what really happened, and who or what might, eventually, have Pushed him to do so...


Shall we ever Know ?


At any case, Richert himself would "Not make any Comments" on Politics, any more, he also anounced, Curiously. I.e. something that Not even German former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, neither French former Senator, f. President of Strasbourg's "Lower Rhine" Department, and f. Mayor + f. President of France's Association of Mayors, as well as f. Minister, Daniel Hoeffel, ("a Big Monsieur"', as Richert acknowledged), did Not do.
At least some among his Political allies reportedly stressed that they were "Shocked" when they heard that he was resigning.


So that, at least some Readers' First Comments published in the Web, already Started to Raise Questions, about what might have, eventually, been the Real and/or More Important Reason which pushed Richert to Resign Today.


But, Richert did Not Exclude, Today, to, eventually, use his Experience Otherwise : I.e., perhaps, in some Scientific or other Research, Conferences, etc, in France and/or elsewhere in Europe or the World, (f.ex. in University, Colloquies, CoE/EU events, Articles, etc, on DeCentralisation or other relevant matter), or to Publish relevant Books, (including, f.ex., an Auto-Biography, etc)...

 

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Human and/or Political Emotions appeared High, among the more than a Hundrend Invitees, mainly from Richert's Majority in the "Great East" Region's Headquarters in Strasbourg, particularly when he clearly confirmed that he's "Leaving everything Tonight", in conclusion of his official declarations, that they all hailed by a Long and vibrant Standing Ovation.

 

all_great_east_region_majority_members_giving_a_long_standing_ovation_to_philippe_richert_eurofora_400


Most of them, (including the current Head of Philippe Richert's Political Majority, Jean Rottner, former Mayor of Mulhouse, who is reportedly one among his most probable Successors), looked sincerely Moved and Thoughtfull, generally declining to add anything more to the Journalists who were invited at this Exceptional Event, simply by observing that "it's not the right moment" now for that, with a kind but bitter smile, full of internal emotions.

 

rottner_recent_eurofora_400
 
elsa_schalck_eurofora_400 
 
(../..)
 
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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
-------------------------
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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