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Home arrow newsitems arrow Turkey attacks ECHR, asks to "reverse its case-law" and to restrict Citizens' access !

Turkey attacks ECHR, asks to "reverse its case-law" and to restrict Citizens' access !

Written by ACM
Friday, 29 May 2009


Un unprecedented brutal attack by Turkey against the European Court of Human Rights was confimed in Strasbourg, by a symbolic coincidence on 29 May 2009, day of a Double Anniversary  :

Byzantine Civilisation's destruction, by the invasion of its capital, Constantinople, by Ottoman Turks on 29 May 1453, (outlawing Christian Churches as St. Sophia, erasing the city's name : "Constantinople" as the greco-Roman emperor who liberated Christians from persecution in 330). But also of the 29 May 2005 Referendum in France where a 54,8% Majority voted "NO" to EU Constitution, notoriously victim of popular reactions to Turkey's controversial claim to enter inside the EU..

Will European Court of Human Rights prove ...stronger and harder to destroy than ...the Byzantine Civilisation and EU Constitution ?

ECHR is generaly considered as CoE's jewel, particularly since the 2005 Warsaw Summit of Heads of State and Government which decided that the paneuropean organization should focus on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law  

 But Turkey dared ask from ECHR to "reverse" its "Case-Law", accusing EuroJudges to "provoke" "Damages to the System" by defending Human Rights too much in Ankara's view...    


Converging CoE's sources confirmed to "EuroFora" that the Turkish attack against ECHR started earlier this week in Strasbourg.

    Astonished (or amused) 46 Ambassadors at CoE's Committee of Ministers, heard this week in Strasbourg a last-minute intervention by the Turkish Ambassador, in which Ankara anounced its refusal to apply a key decision on ECHR taken by CoE's Foreign Ministers' meeting on May 12 in Madrid in order to enhance ECHR's efficiency:

- Turkey "will Not implement the .. New Procedures" on ECHR's reform.  It Refuses "either option" decided by the other CoE Countries, declared Ankara's Ambassador.

    In fact, Ankara seems afraid that ..."by rendering Faster Just Satisfaction awards, a 3 Judge Committee procedure, may .. encourage more applications" from victims of grave Human Rights Violations notoriously continuing in Turkey, according to one of its own observations..

    Thanks to a clever move by Spanish Diplomacy, the 46 other CoE's Foreign Ministers succeeded to adopt in Madrid on May 12 what is known as "Protocol 14bis" by voting fast at a moment that the Turkish Foreign Minister M. Davutoglou had left the room for a while...

    But Turkey's aggression against the ECHR, resulted to an obvious Absurdity, that many will find scandalous :   

 - THE same State which is notoriously responsible for the difficulties faced by ECHR, by overloading Strasbourg's Court with many cases of grave Violations of Human Rights, Turkey, (No 1 by far, in all ECHR's Statistics !), dared attack its own victim, ECHR, by accusing it to be .. itself responsible for suffering from the problems exported from Ankara !..   

 - It's the European "Court's own actions" which are in "the root-Causes of the Backlog Problem", claimed the Turkish Ambassador  :

    He started by accusing ECHR to have "adopted Easy and Simple rules for Applications to it", mainly because "there are No Application Fees"

    In other words, Ankara wants that ECHR starts to ask Victims of Human Rights Violations to .."Pay a Fee" before being able to access Strasbourg's Court. (And even to ..."translate" all their Documents to an "official" Language, etc).

    By so doing, Ankara forgets that she has been ....condemned by the ECHR precisely for " Violation of the Human Right to Access to a Court" inside Turkey itself, by asking People to Pay "a substantial amount of Money" as "Fees", and without any Legal Aid for the Poor, before they might be heard by any Judge...

    Moreover, Turkey accuses ECHR for  :

- "Generous Sums of Just Satisfaction awards contained in the Court's Judgements", which "transfomed" the right to individual application in an "Industry" (sic !), according to Ankara... ("Forgeting", f.ex. that the Families of 9 "Missing" persons didn't get even 1 € from ECHR in 2008, despite its unanimous condemnation of Turkey's responsibilities for their enforced "disappearance").

- to have "decided in many cases that recourse to Domestic Remeries is Not Necessary", (as fex. on grave violations of Kurds' Human Rights, because of the notorious inefficiency of Turkish Courts, which only waste Time, and in Cyprus' Occupied Territories).

- Shamefully trying to hide Grave Violations of Human Rights behind  provoked Waste of Time to the detriment of the Victims, Turkey also accuses ECHR for an "extraordinary broadening of the Rationae TEMPORIS principle", (thanks to which Loizidou and other Greek Cypriot REFUGEES, as well as "MISSING" Persons' Families, etc, succeeded to condemn Turkey).

    Multiplying attacks mainly against the "unpredictable Admissibility", as it claims, of applications by ECHR,
    Turkey insuled as "Preposterous" even the idea that ECHR might be a "Succes", (rejecting a well known sentence by ECHR's President, French Professor Jean-Paul Costa, that "ECHR is victim of its own success" by attracting too many applications..

    Going even further, Turkey also accused ECHR for issuing, as it claims, "Contradictory Judgements", (without even explaining her claim), and even "Differentiated Judgements for Different respondent States", (i.e. accusing ECHR for Discrimination against Ankara only),

    => In conclusion, Turkey dared ask from ECHR to ...behave "Reasonably", and even to... "Reverse"  "trends in the Court's Case-Law", accusing EuroJudges from 47 CoE Member States to "provoke.Damage to the System" !!!...
ECHR's "reply" :
     Instead of any other reply, ECHR's President, French Professor Jean-Paul Costa, issued a brief, but crystal-clear  official statement, where he simply "thanks those (CoE's) Member States which worked to make possible a new protocol (opened to signature), showing their attachment to the protection mecanism issued from the European Convention of Human Rights"...  

However, the Turkish Ambassador promised, at least, "not to stand in the way" of other CoE's Countries, who would like to implement that procedural reform, which mainly restricts the Number of Judges who can declare an Application "inadmissible" to only 1 or 3 members, according to cases.

    - "But we (ECHR) shall wait until the end of May, to see if there won't be any obstacle to the entry into force of the new Protocol 14 bis", said to "EuroFora" the Director of ECHR's Registrar, Eric Friberg of Sweden.

    [NDLR : On certain Risks of imbalances against Human Rights and Citizens' Right to Individual Petition, that the simplified Protocol 14-Bis might have, according to International NGOs, and some CoE Member States, etc,  which should not be overshadowed, nor covered-up by Turkey's move, "EuroFora" will come back asap.].




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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.



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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