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Parliamentary questions | Doc. 13032 | 01 October 2012

Parliamentary questions to the Chairperson-in-Office of the Committee of Ministers

Author(s): Ms Zaruhi POSTANJYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Mr Levon ZOURABIAN, Armenia, ALDE

Question from Ms Postanjyan (Armenia, EPP/CD)


The Armenian community has prepared a report for the attention of the Turkish Minister of Education, Mr Omer Dencer, requesting certain modifications to the regulations on minority schools, in particular the abolition of the practice of appointing Turkish deputy principals in minority schools, which has been practised since the 1970s. It also requests that the terms of the contracts for Turkish language and Turkish history teachers be determined by the schools themselves.

In Istanbul, there are 14 elementary schools, five high schools and one kindergarten belonging to the Armenian community. There were 3 000 students registered in these schools in the last school year.

The Armenian community simply requests equal citizenship, recalling the fact that the other schools in Turkey have the right to apply their own regulations in their schools.

How and when can the Committee of Ministers find a solution to the above-mentioned issue?

What mechanisms can be implemented to oblige Turkey to respect the rights of minorities and reject the policy of discrimination against minorities?

Reply by the Committee of Ministers

It is for the Turkish authorities to decide on the organisation of the school system in Turkey. From the point of view of the Council of Europe, the only requirement is that this organisation complies with the European Convention on Human Rights, under which all member States of the Council of Europe have committed themselves to securing the enjoyment without discrimination of the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Convention, including the right to education.

It is for the European Court of Human Rights, and not the Committee of Ministers, to decide on this matter.

In addition to the Human Rights Convention, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages contain provisions in the fields of education and culture.

These provisions aim at promoting a spirit of tolerance, mutual respect and equal opportunities. They can constitute a useful source of inspiration for those States, including Turkey, which are not parties to these instruments.

Question from Mr Zourabian (Armenia, ALDE)


I am representing the Armenian National Congress, which was created in 2008 on the basis of an alliance of political forces which supported the candidacy of the first President of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrossian, during the 2008 presidential election. On 1 March 2008, the Armenian authorities resorted to lethal force to brutally disperse the peaceful demonstrations aimed at protesting against the falsification of the elections. The use of lethal forces resulted in the death of ten people and hundreds were wounded.

The Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1609 (2008) called for “an independent, transparent and credible inquiry into the events of 1 March” and the Assembly expressed its “concern about the lack of results of the inquiry into the 10 deaths that occurred during the March 2008 events” in Resolution 1837 (2008). However, four and a half years later, the killings have not been solved and nobody has been charged in relation to these crimes.

The Armenian authorities have also totally disregarded the call “to focus on the issue of responsibility in the chain of command and the context in which the 10 deaths occurred” (Resolution 1837 (2008)) and failed to deliver any credible report to the public as to why they have failed to establish any individual responsibility for the 10 deaths. It is now obvious that the Armenian authorities are engaged in a cover-up of the killings, since any credible investigation will undoubtedly establish their full and direct responsibility for the crimes.

What measures is the Committee of Ministers considering to make the Armenian authorities establish the responsibility for the crimes of 1 March 2008?

Reply by the Committee of Ministers

In the context of the monitoring by the Committee of Ministers of Armenia’s accession commitments, the issue of the investigation into the March 2008 events was raised with the relevant Armenian authorities, including during visits to Armenia in April 2008 and in November 2009.

On these occasions, the need to conduct with due diligence a thorough and transparent investigation in order to fully elucidate the circumstances of the death of the 10 people killed during these events was underlined.

It was pointed that this would help to heal the wounds and create a political climate based on confidence and trust. This is of particular importance in view of the forthcoming presidential election.