AS (2014) CR 29
2014 ORDINARY SESSION
Monday 29 September 2014 at 3 p.m.
The following texts were submitted for inclusion in the official report by members who were present in the Chamber but were prevented by lack of time from delivering them.
Ms BARTOS (Hungary) – The situation in Ukraine, the Scottish referendum, the intended vote in Catalonia and the reactions to all of this in different parts of Europe show that this issue is continously on the main political table and agenda.
We heard from the media that Northern Ireland, Wales and even England expressed their wish to enlarge the attributions and competences of their institutions. In Bosnia, Serbs declared that they wanted to think about their future, and in Romania, two weeks ago, the Democratic Alliance of the Hungarians from Romania presented and launched for public debate the draft document for Hungarian (Szekler) autonomy. The Council of Europe should follow and watch these events closely because the understanding of democracy is not the same all over Europe.
While the British Parliament voted the law which made the Scottish referendum possible, the Romanian government does not even want to initiate talks about Hungarian (Szekler) autonomy. In February of this year, the Hungarian (Szekler) local governments from Romania took the parallel initiative of addressing a demand for regional autonomy to the Romanian government. This demand was also sent to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Strasbourg, where it has been tabled on the agenda of the monitoring committee. It is important to keep all eyes on this process in order to ensure its fair handling. Autonomy is a stabilizing structure, not a destabilizing factor.
Mr HOVHANNISYAN (Armenia) – It is already evident that Europe needs to revise its policy of “either in or out”. We can clearly observe how directly this policy leads to serious complications inside countries and societies in the European neighbourhood. There are historical, cultural, economic and ethnic issues that cannot be overlooked. The Eastern Partnership programme should be aimed at bridging countries and societies. Instead, we impose barricades.
Today’s Europe was established on the idea of building bridges and reaching compromise, but now it is perceived to be creating new barriers in the world. That’s not Europe’s true aim. We must be flexible enough to change any foreign policy that leads to new curtains and new pockets of isolation. There are actual and potential points of tension all over Europe. They weren’t formed spontaneously, but under the watchful eye of the international community, often underestimated by the latter, sometimes quite consciously.
Today, for example, a new wave of tension is developing in the South Caucasus, where one of the countries has launched an arms race, spending billions to get new arms. In the statements of its president, there are frequent elements of xenophobia and expressions of hatred that lead to new tension in the region. During the last session we missed the opportunity to direct questions to him. We could have asked him: why not prepare our societies for peace and not for war? For tolerance, not intolerance? For a peaceful relationship and future cooperation, not for tension and eternal hostility? Why spread threats of targeting civil aircrafts? And these provocative and warmongering calls come from the head of State and are made at places like this Assembly, under the disguise of some false democratic, moral or ethical values.
Today Azerbaijan wants to forcibly subdue Karabakh, a land living its peaceful and democratic life. Today, when the whole international community, including the United States’ President Obama and various European institutions, strictly condemns the state of human rights and democracy in Azerbaijan, here we can see attempts at passing evidently oil-smelling reports.
Let me give you just a couple of examples: when, in Azerbaijan, independent NGOs are oppressed, independent editors are jailed and political party members are prosecuted, in Karabakh there are about 210 registered NGOs, more than 30 registered media units and 11 political parties. I think we can all agree that the leverage that comes with the possession of natural oil resources can never serve as a justification for human rights violations or threats of war.
Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – For more than twenty years, Armenia has been using force against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. It has occupied around 20% of the territories of Azerbaijan and conducted ethnic cleansing against almost one million Azerbaijanis, as a result of which not one single Azerbaijani lives in Armenia or in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
It is well known that four resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and numerous other international and regional organisations reaffirm the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the inadmissibility of the use of force for the acquisition of territory. The resolutions demand the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, Armenia disregards all the aforementioned resolutions and the generally accepted norms and principles of international law, and continues its military occupation of Azerbaijani lands. Armenia regularly violates the ceasefire and deliberately attacks Azerbaijani civilians, which results in the killing and wounding of inhabitants residing near the frontline. Just recently, several Azerbaijani civilians visiting the graveyards of their relatives in the occupied territories were taken hostage, tortured and some of them even killed by the security forces of Armenia. The other Azerbaijanis are still in captivity under fabricated accusations and Armenia refuses to return them back to Azerbaijan. But everyone is silent. There is no reaction to this. No response. This raises the following questions: what is the reason for this injustice? Why are no complaints heard? Why is the aggressive policy of Armenia defended, supported and even encouraged?
Azerbaijan fulfils the commitments of the Council of Europe. Azerbaijan made and is still making considerable contributions to the cause of securing peace and international security: the establishment of the new Southern Gas Corridor on 20 September 2014 is yet more proof of the sustainability of these steps. But on the eve of this event, the European Parliament adopted a biased decision with regard to our country, based on subjective conclusions and double standards.
The world should not accept double standards either; otherwise it could bring us back to the dark chapters of the last century. In this regard, the time is ripe to bring to justice those in Armenia who have perpetuated acts of aggression against Azerbaijan and crimes against humanity, and to impose sanctions on them.
Mr DENEMEÇ (Turkey) – The recent developments in Palestine, particularly the Gaza crisis, have shown once again that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the core problems in the Middle East. Human tragedy unfolded in Gaza before the eyes of the international community. Israel's attacks started on 7 July, and the later military operation on the ground resulted in the deaths of almost 2 000 Palestinians, with almost 11 000 people injured, including many women and children.
From the outset of the Israeli attacks, we have made collective efforts with our international partners to stop the Israeli aggression and achieve an agreed ceasefire in the region. At this point, we should all encourage and call the parties to respect this ceasefire; this could enable a comprehensive, just and lasting solution. It is also important that a sustainable ceasefire takes into account the legitimate demands and expectations of the Palestinian people. In this respect, ending the blockade and lifting all restrictions in Gaza should be the main priority. The Palestinian National Unity Government should assume its responsibilities on the whole Palestinian territory, supported by the international community. A lasting calm in the region can serve as a prelude for the revitalisation of efforts toward a just, comprehensive and permanent settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While giving political support to the ceasefire efforts, we will continue with our intensive humanitarian aid operations to the benefit of Palestinians who live in extremely difficult circumstances. Turkey will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza, including food, medicine and fuel. We are transferring the wounded from Gaza to Turkey for treatment and we are working on new assistance projects such as supplying electricity to Gaza and building field hospitals there. Turkey will resolutely continue its efforts, in cooperation with its international partners, to find a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Palestinian conflict.