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Home arrow newsitems arrow Refugee Family's Young Girl speaks out on Turkish Attacks v. Cyprus in CoE Local Democracy Debate

Refugee Family's Young Girl speaks out on Turkish Attacks v. Cyprus in CoE Local Democracy Debate

Written by ACM
Thursday, 20 October 2016
refugee_family_young_girl_from_cyprus_speaking_out_v._turkish_attempts_to_exploit_coes_local_democracy_deliberations__eurofora_400


*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- A fragile Young Girl of a Refugee Family from the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, illegaly held by Ankara's Military since the 1974 Invasion until now (despite numerous UN SC Resolutions against it), in an Exceptional move, Dared Speak out and give a crystal-clear Reply to 3 or 4 Turkish Politicians' provocative Attacks against Cyprus, (the incoming CoE's New President in office, for the period of November 2016 - May 2017), during a Debate of PanEuropean COE's Local/Regional Democracy watchdog (CLRAE), by a Coincidence held in Strasbourg shortly before Exceptionaly Important Top Level Talks for the Solution of Cyprus' overall Political Issue are due to Start at nearby Switzerland, around the Beginning of November 2016.


Several Turkey's mainland Cities/Regions' representatives and a Turkish Cypriot from the Territories of Cyprus still Occupied by Ankara's Army, marking an Abrupt Change from a usualy Consensual Compromise allowing Local/Regional Democracy Debates inside the PanEuropean Congress of Local/Regional Authorities from 47 Countries, including Cyprus, suddenly Attacked mainly the Traditional Official Position taken by CLRAE's co-Rapporteurs, Bernd Voehringer from Germany (of the Governing ChristianDemocrat/EPP Party) and Randi Mondorf from Denmark (a Liberal), at their New Report about "Local Democracy" in the Island, Claiming that they shouldn't have Spoken about any kind of Foreign Military Occupation of Cyprus' Territories by Ankara's Invasion Army, and that they would have been Obliged, on the contrarty, to speak about some so-called "Turkish Cypriot Municipalities" at the Occupied Territories held by Anlkara's Military, (most if not all of which are notoriously, illegaly managing usurpated Family Homes, Private Properties and Ancestral Land of about 200.000 Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced Persons, obliged to Flee Turkey's Military Invasion and still Hindered to Return, not even to manage their Belongings in the Occupied Area.


Until then, the only, astonishingly Calm (to the pont that some would say  : "Lukewarm") reaction was that which had been made by the Head of Cypus' Delegation, Stavros Yerolatsites, focused mainly into a Mild Protest for such Attempts to Exploit CLRAE's Debates on Local Democracy in order to Launch purely Political Claims on Hot Issues currently discussed at a Top Political Level under the auspices of UNO's Secretary General, instead of simply Discussing some Real Local DeCentralisation Practical Matters which affect People's Everyday Lives, such as, f.ex., the Insufficiency of Independent Funding for Municipalities, still obliged to expect almost all their Ressources from the Central State, etc., as CoE's Report and MEPs' Debates were Criticizing Today, asking for a Reform : I.e. a Topical Issue also in several other European Countries, which would be also particularly Useful even to Turkish Cypriots themselves when a Solution of the Cyprus' issue would succeed to ReUnify the Island, as he had topicaly pointed out.


So that, in Front of Persisting provocative Turkish Political Claims, the First "Hot" and Crystal-clear Reply Unexpectedly came from one of CLRAE's "Young Delegates", (exceptionaly gathered this week in Strasbourg mainly for Young People's Projects on Local/Regional Democracy),  Miss Margarita Christodoulides, (as she told later "Eurofora" that her Name was), whose Family are Greek Cypriot Refugees obliged to Flee from Occupied Kyrenia City since the 1974 Turkey's Military Invasion and Occupation of the Northern Coasts of Cyprus, and still Hindered to Return to their Family Home, Private Properties and Ancextral Land even on 2016, despite a lot of ECHR Judgements clearly Condemning Turkey for "Continuing" Mass Violations of Refugees' Human Rights, from 1996 up to 2014 and well beyond, that Ankara's Government still persists to Not Implement, and even Refuses to pay at least the Financial "Just Satisfaction" ordered by ECHR, obliging CoE's Highest Political body, its Committee of Ministers, to issue a Long Series of Calls and Stern Warnings to Ankara, (the Latest dating just from Last Month : September 2016, See : ....).


The Greek Cypriot Refugee Family's fragile Young Girl courageously Reminded mainly the Fact that Many Refugees/Displaced persons from the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, (who represent approximatively some 20% of the Total Population of that Strategicaly located EU and CoE Member Country), have been practicaly Obliged to set up their own Municipal Councils, in order to Deal with all matters Concerning their Family Homes, Private Properties and Ancestral Land, Protection from Looting and/or Destruction, Cultural Heritage, Reconstruction, etc., even at the various Other Places where they had been obliged to Stay and Live, after Fleeing fhe Turkish Military Invasion and Occupation, Waiting for an outcome that would hopefuly allow them to Get Back Home.


Speaking only towards the End of CLRAE's Discussion, the Head of Greece's Delegation, Michalis Angelopoulos, Mayor of Samos' Island, (who has just Succeeded to be Elected among the First vice-Presidents of CLRAE's Chamber for Local Authorities : Cities and Municipalities, and is also a Vice-Presisdent of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Groum, headed by Experienced, twice CLRAE President, Dr. Herwig Van Staa from Austria's Tyrol Region), soberly Added the Fact that, throughout all Europe and even Worldwide, Nobody has ever Recognized at all any illegal structure set up by the Ankara-supported illegitimate Regime at the Occupied Territories of Cyprus still held by the Turkish Invasion and Occupation Army, (where UNO's Highest body, its Security Council, has clearly Asked to Not Recognize, Neither support or abet in any way, a Break-away Separatist illegal entity, as a matter of Principle.


Something that was, Later-on, more or less, also corroborated by CRLAE's Rapporteur himself (Comp. Supra), who appeared to Criticize particularly those Turkish attempts to Exploit for Political Claims a Tribune that the CoE had decided in the Past, back on 2005, to exceptionaly give to some Turkish Cypriots from the Occupied Territories of Cyprus controlled by Turkey's Military, just an Opportunity to hold a Dialogue with their Greek Cypriot compatriots, in order to Contribute to a Beter Climate for the ReUnification of the Country in Future.

---------------
NEW CLRAE's PRESIDENT's position of principle :
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+ Meanwhile, the New CLRAE President, Mrs Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom from Austria, replying to a Similar Question during her Bress Briefing with Strasbourg Journalists, including "Eurofora", (Comp. GMT's Replies to "Eurofora" Questions on Other Issues, immediately related to CLRAE's Specific competences, at : ....), Criticized as a matter of General Principle, any attempts to Politicize CLRAE Debates with ¨Provocative and inappropriate/unrelated claims :


- "This is Not a Place for (merely) Political Disputes", "Neither a Fighting place", particularly when such a controversial move "goes Beyond our (CLRAE's) Framework" of competences, she stressed, even if "it's not easy, because sometimes issues seem partly connected" in certain rare cases.


++ But, as far as CLRAE's main Competence on "Local (and/or Regional) Democracy is concerned, a subsequent Debate, later-on this Afternoon, was going to clearly remind the stern Fact that, particularly nowadays, Local Democracy is seriously Undermined in Turkey, which obviously isn't credible at all in its attempts to abuse, for selfish and controversial interests, of a Principle that it blatantly Violates itself, (See, f.ex. : ....).

 

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

Cyprus' Refugees are among the Rare, perhaps the Only in the World, who almost All Wanted always to Return Back to their original Family Homes and Ancestral Land, in Decent conditions, at a moment when, on the Contrary, Many Other various Asylum Seekers (particularly inside that Unprecedented Massive influx of various irregular Migrants pushed and selected by Turkish Smugglers into Europe through Neibouring Greece) would reportedly be quite reluctant until now. 

Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the World-Famous predecessor, at the Head of nearby Geneva-Headquarted UNHCR, of New UNO's Secretary General-elected (for the incoming period of 2017-2023) Antonio Guterres, (a former Prime Minister of Portugal, who will succeed to current UN SG Ban Ki Moon : Comp.  Guterrez Statements to "Eurofora"s Co-Founder, at 2 occcasions as UNHCR Chief in the Past, partly Published then also at "TCyprusWeekly", etc+, as well as from Ban Ki Moon, Koffi Annan and Boutros-Ghali, at : ... + .. = ..., etc), another Portuguese Language/Culture Senior Officer for the International Community, from Brazil, who subsequently served also as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in general, and was reportedly expected to be even another Candidate for the Top Job of UNO's SG in the Past, had notoriously worked during most of his Life into striving (and often succeeding) to Help willing Refugees Return Back Home Free, even After Hard Conflicts, throughout almost All Continents of the World, (including cases from Africa, Europe, Latin America, Asia, etc), and was Tragicaly Murdered, Together with other UNO's Officers and Local Staff, at a Bomb Terrorist Attack in Bagdad (Iraq) back on 2003, by a Coincidence, just after News about an Attempt to Bring Back some 40.000 Kurdish Refugees at Northern Iraq, previously Pushed Out by Oppressive Measures of a Former Iraqi regime.


Curiously, Nobody has yet been Found and Punished for that strange Deadly Terrorist Bomb Attack, which had been obviously Targetted.
 

+ Meanwhile, by another Coincidence (possibly unrelated), an Artist Exhibition picturing also Vieira de Mello, inaugurated at the CoE Last Week in Strasbourg by the Incoming EU Presidency of Malta for the period of Jan.-June 2017, was ...brutaly Vandalized (f.ex. by Cutting and Destroying an adjacent Picture, etc), reportedly by someone acting under the cover of the Delegation accompagnying Turkish Foreign Minister Mesut Cavusoglu during his recent Visit here : Comp., f.ex., inter alia, also : ...+...).

20161014_125130_400


Such an Unprecedented, Violent Attack and Unilateral Censorship against an Official Art Exhibition of a Key EU Member State inside the CoE, the PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, (notoriously including Freedom of Expression as a Basis, in real Practice, also for all Other Human Rights and Democratic Liberties according to ECHR's well-established case law), was Stronly Denounced, earlier, inside CoE Parliamentary Assembly's Highest Political body, its "Bureau", last Friday Morning in Strasbourg, inter alia also by the SpokesWoman of the Biggest Group of MEPs, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Mrs Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter from Switzerland :

 

mrs_elisabeth_schneiderschneiter_swiss


- Blasting "an Unacceptable, Brutal Attack on an Art Exhibition" at the CoE, PACE biggest Group's Spokeswoman reportedly asked from those responsible for the culprits to, at least, "Apologise Officialy", and PACE's President, Spanish MEP Pedro Agramunt, reportedly Replied that a Letter had been already send, in this regard, with a reaction being "forthcoming". That Incident was also Remarked and Commented, later-on that Day, by several Other PACE's MEPs, including the Experienced, former President of PACE's "Monitoring" Committee, mainstream MEP from Austria, Stefan Schennach, (Socialist), who Explained to "Eurofora" what had really happened.

 

20161014_124439_400


However, "Eurofora" observed, later-on, that, even more than a full Week after that Unprecedented Material and Symbolic, Violent Aggression inside the CoE, (even at a Central Spot normaly followed 7/7 and 24/24 by Video-Cameras, etc), nevertheless, keeps Still Going on, with the Vandalized ArtWork remaining Empty, with a blatant White Square Destroyed by the Agressor, (See relevant Photo), still Today...

coe_art_expo_vandalized_400
(../..)
 


***


("Draftnews", as already send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).


***


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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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