AS (2016) CR 02
Addendum 2



(First part)


Second sitting

Monday 25 January 2016 at 3.00 p.m.


Free Debate

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.

Mr R. HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijan) – It is always desirable for an individual or an entire nation or State to be free to make their own choices. Indeed, depriving an individual or an entire nation or State of the opprtunity to choose, or forcing them to make a negative choice, is always undesirable.

Azerbaijan chose all by itself to join the Council of Europe. Having liberated itself from the Soviet Union by proclaiming its independence 25 years ago, from the very beginning Azerbaijan adopted the policy of being part of the Euro-Atlantic space. Following this correct and natural choice, which represents a challenge of modern times, Azerbaijan was subjected to innumerable assaults and pressures for a long time. Appeals for the restoration of the USSR resounded. The Arab world covertly and openly threatened to separate Azerbaijan from its secular ways and turn it into a country ruled by sharia laws.

The negative point is that the recent threats against Azerbaijan’s independence are emerging not only from unfriendly States and international organisations, but from those whom we consider as our friends and allies. Since the early years of independence and democratic development, Azerbaijan has considered the United States as a friend and partner, standing alongside it in strategically important energy projects and in combating international terrorism. However, great power status does not entitle the United States to impose its will on us, affect our independence, instruct us on how to maintain relations with various States or to try to blackmail us through the most severe sanctions because of our independence policy.

We perceive the Council of Europe as a school of democracy; we benefit from its experience and systematically apply these lessons in our country. We are resolved to continue this line, but, unfortunately, we are encountering a rather partial, severe attitude from the Council of Europe that is based on double standards. We are able to tolerate such an attitude from MPs who are under the influence of various lobbies, but we find it disturbing that the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, for reasons best known to himself, should take such a partial and unjust approach. We see it as an attack on our independence and constructive collaboration.

We firmly reject any action that could in any way cast a shadow over our independence. We recommend that the countries we consider as our friends, as well as international organisations with which we are keen to co-operate, think hard about taking such measures against us. If they do so, they should ask themselves towards which side they are pushing us.

Mr İHSANOĞLU (Turkey) – In 2005, in my capacity as the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), I had the honour of addressing this august body. The OIC is the second biggest intergovernmental organisation after the United Nations, with its 57 member States. In my address then, I said: “Islam and the West could and should live together in peace and harmony as the common denominators that link them outweigh their differences. We share the universal standards that human dignity is inviolable and that striving for democracy is an important foundation for human dignity, individual liberties and freedom of religion.”

In this same address, I also made reference to the common Abrahimic roots and shared ancient Greek philosophy and sciences as well as the advancement that the İslamic civilisation achieved in many disciplines which had a great impact on the emergence of modern civilisation. In this way, I called upon both sides to acknowledge the common roots of contemporary civilisation. In doing so, I intended to bridge the gap between Islamophobes and Westernphobes.

I have to acknowledge here that for the last decade we have witnessed certain positive developments in the rapprochement between the West and Islam, and in particular the adoption of resolution 16/18 of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations entitled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatisation, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief”. This resolution, which is better known as 16/18, and the Istanbul Declaration that came afterwards in July 2011 were certainly a major step towards building widespread consensus.

As of today, when we are faced with an unprecedented wave of brutal abhorrent terrorism qualifying itself with a religion that derives its name from “peace”, we should be careful not to fall victim to radicals on either side. I believe that a common sense of belonging to one universal understanding of human civilisation and having internationally accepted genuine norms of freedom of religion and of combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and discrimination will help us to overcome this violent and brutal phenomenon.

Ms KERESTECİOĞLU DEMIR (Turkey) – The situation in Turkey is deplorable now. Extreme use of heavy weapons by the Turkish armed forces and the use of long-lasting curfews have resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths, mass displacements and extreme deprivation of essential needs such as food and shelter, as well as disruptions to essential services such as healthcare, education and means of communication. Some 192 civilians have so far lost their lives under this curfew. Scores of bodies were left lying in the streets, and relatives who tried to approach them were shot by snipers. Our youths have been dying because they have remained in the areas where ambulances were allowed into the neighbourhood for security reasons, despite the interim injunctions issued by the European Court of Human Rights. Eighty one children, 78 women and a total of 436 civilians died in this atmosphere of warfare. Although the violations of fundamental human rights in Turkey will be discussed further in these sessions, I urge the Council of Europe to make an urgent plea to the AKP Government for a ceasefire to end the deplorable damage to civilians and for the peace process to be restarted.

In conclusion, I would like to remind you of the founding values of the Council of Europe with respect to human dignity: Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. These values cannot be negotiated for the exchange of immigrants who endanger their lives to leave Turkey. How long can this silence last? Perhaps until a new wave of Kurdish refugees come to the borders!

Mr KORODI (Romania) – For all we know, regarding the protection of ethnic minorities, Romania could be considered as a European model. The country has tried to adopt practically all the conventions adopted by the Council of Europe in this domain. However, when it comes to the results of applying these conventions, Romania is no success story.

On the one hand, it is a country that has laws regarding inscriptions in Hungarian and a national holiday, 13 November, named the Day of the Hungarian Language in Romania. At the same time, however, various local councils were recently obliged by court order to take down Hungarian inscriptions from their buildings.

The inscription formerly mentioned is KÖZSÉGHÁZA. In English, it is the community hall. You can guess from its name that it is usually put on buidings that house local councils and other local institutions, such as cultural centres. Of course, on these buildings one can always see the names of these institutions in Romanian as well.

These inscriptions are being taken down because someone denounced them, and the judge ruled in the plaintiff’s favour. One of these buildings had been visited by many Romanian politicians, presidents and prime ministers, and it did not bother them at the time. It seems that this does not count, and neither do the adopted conventions or the existing laws, because we live in a country where we frequently see situations where laws do not mean anything––a country where many injustices are committed in the name of justice.

The inscriptions had to be taken down and the Hungarian community is shaken. We are shaken because this meant something to us; it was a symbol, something that has been on the buildings for years, an element of our identity.

Regarding the protection of ethnic minorities, the situation in Romania is getting worse. There is no dialogue. We have to face more and more decisions by local and national governmental institutions that obstruct minority rights. Over the past four years, judicial decisions against symbols and the rights of the Hungarian community have been increasing in number, and this bizarre method is being used more and more by the day.

Dear colleagues, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has to facilitate the application of the adopted conventions regarding minority rights.

Mr KÜÇÜKCAN (Turkey) – A year of unfortunate events is behind us now; a year in which terrorism threatened the fundamental rights and freedom of European citizens and the basic values we have been defending in this Assembly for more than 65 years.

Turkey has become one of the biggest contributors to the activities and the ideals of the Council of Europe. In this framework, I would like to draw your attention to the situation in south-east Turkey and give you some precise information about the actual state of affairs. The media have wrongly reported that the Turkish State is fighting against Kurds. This is not the case at all. Turkey is fighting against PKK terrorism. Turkey has engaged in a political peace process and in constructive debates; it has introduced reforms to disarm the PKK, which has refused to lay down its arms.

At present, the rights and freedom of millions of our citizens living in the south-east region are being violated because of the acts of the terrorist organisation PKK and its affiliates that have, as of 14 January 2016, killed 223 security officers and 97 civilians, including children and babies since 20 July. Some 1 211 security personnel and 526 civilians have been wounded and 109 civilians have been kidnapped. The terrorist organisation attacks hospitals, schools, ambulances, libraries, homes, businesses, historical artefacts and places of worships. The PKK is not only targeting security forces in the region, but threatening and killing civilians, seizing their properties and houses, closing and plundering their businesses and oppressing Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Zazas in the region who openly oppose them. PKK terrorism targets the core values of the Council of Europe and aims to eradicate human rights and the fundamental freedoms it stands for.

Turkey expects the Council of Europe and its Assembly to show clear and determined support for her in her struggle against terrorism and for the fundamental human rights of her citizens, who are citizens of Europe. I would like to remind you that the PKK and its supporters’ appeal to the ECHR for the curfews to be lifted was rejected in the terror-hit south-east, citing confidence in Turkish government.

Turkey had expressed its strong commitment to fighting terrorism of any kind. Members of this Assembly should stand united against terrorism by taking a direct stance and condemning terrorist attacks of any kind anywhere, as we did in the face of the terror attacks in Paris.

Mr STROE (Romania) – I welcome the inauguration of the new Moldovan government, a government with a clear pro-European orientation. It is a step forward in strengthening political stability in the country.

Romania is the main supporter of Moldova’s European route to integration, and it is my firm belief that this new government was, and is now, the unique option to ensure the stability of the country through times of profound economic crisis. It was approved by the parliament and it complies with the provisions of the Constitution of Moldova.

The public protests against the new government show a real need for dialogue between all political parties, as well as with society, and that need was well perceived by the Speaker and the Prime Minister, both of whom are ready to engage in a dialogue. The dialogue is in place and this demonstrates the willingness to respond to the demonstrators. This moment must be treated with the utmost responsibility in order to follow its European path in an effective manner.

Certain actions need to be taken by this new government: quickly to resume the reform process, including a decisive fight against corruption; to restore economic stability in the country; and to make more efforts in the field of the judiciary system and in the fight against corruption. That is what this country truly needs at this time, and we would like to see all this done in a decisive, resolute and impartial manner.

Romania also reaffirms its willingness to support all efforts envisaged by the authorities in Chisinau to implement the European agenda and reform. In this context, the Moldovan Prime Minister, Mr Pavel Filip, will pay a visit to Bucharest tomorrow. I know that the tasks facing the Executive in Chisinau are not easy, but I want our partners to be convinced that Romania will be their most important supporter in their bid to overcome economic difficulties and to continue the pro-European path.

Ms DESKOSKA (Republic of Macedonia) – I want to raise the issue of the political crisis in Macedonia, which is a direct result of the government’s corruptive practices and activities which violate human rights and the rule of law––a government which was elected on the basis of fraudulent elections. The criminal activities of the government were disclosed during the wiretapping scandal, which also disclosed violations of the right to privacy of citizens.

The country is experiencing a serious political crisis. The steps for overcoming the crisis were set up in the June/July 2015 agreement: audit of the voters list, media reform, reforms of the judiciary, and reform of the Security and Counterintelligence service and so on. The ruling party has postponed these reforms. The State Election Commission (SEC) was elected following a five-month delay. The audit of the voters list has not even started, and no agreement or reform of the media has been made.

I am only indicating the issues that are important for organising free and fair elections. Why are these reforms necessary? Because the wiretapping scandal confirmed what was already noted in the OBSE/ODIHR reports on the elections in Macedonia: that there were "manipulations of the voter lists, vote buying, voter intimidation, including threats against civil servants and companies and preventing voters from casting their votes". The restrictions to the freedom of expression and to the freedom of the media were also noted in the reports of relevant international bodies.

The ruling party wants to hold quick and unprepared elections in April of this year. The President of the SEC has already stated that it is would not be possible to carry out all the steps to audit the voters list if elections were held in April. The ruling parties want to avoid a true audit of the voters list in order to benefit from multiple voting with illegally produced IDs.

If the conditions for free and fair elections are not met, the opposition will not participate in such elections and that will intensify the political crisis in this frontline country which is in the path of migrants coming to Europe.

Mr ESAYAN (Turkey) – I want to express my opinions regarding the PKK’s terrorist actions, which re-emerged after 6 to 8 October 2014 and which have been increasing in violence since 22 July 2015.

Over the last 14 years, we have witnessed a revolution in our country with regard to the Kurdish question. The AK Party has always put this matter at the top of its agenda and has also placed it in the declaration of the party’s constitution.

Countless democratic reforms aimed at solving the problems of our Kurdish citizens and around 300 legislative amendments directly related to this issue have been undertaken. The denial of the Kurdish identity and language was officially ended. Profound structural steps were taken to normalise the lives of the citizens in the region, but the real challenge for the government emerged more in the area of disarming the PKK than in answering the demands of Kurdish citizens for cultural rights.

For the first time, the AK Party approached this risky area not from a security perspective, but from the point of view of liberties. The initial process was interrupted by the killing of 13 soldiers by the PKK on 14 July 2011, which also ended the period without clashes. Following the initiative of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the “reconciliation Process” was started in 2013. On 8 May 2013, in front of media outlets from all over the world, the PKK announced the start of their withdrawal, but in September it declared that it had stopped the withdrawal.

Mr Ahmet Davutoğlu’s first action, after becoming prime minister, was to meet the leaders of the HDP to restart the reconciliation process. However, in response to the PKK and the HDP calling for an uprising, riots and looting took place in around 30 cities, and around 50 civilians were killed between 6 to 8 October 2014. Unfortunately, instead of the PKK becoming more like the HDP, the HDP turned gradually into the PKK. During the ensuing wave of violence, the HDP used the political tools available to it to legitimise the terrorist acts of the PKK and continues to do so.

Turkey is taking and planning comprehensive measures to heal the wounds of its Kurdish citizens. The prolongation of curfews and of the struggle against the PKK is due to the care given to protecting the lives of the civilians used as human shields by the PKK.

Ms GÜNAY (Turkey) Turkey and Europe have indispensable ties and relations going back many many years. The Ankara Agreement, signed in 1963, brought a legal framework to our constructive relationship and, as an ambitious candidate, Turkey applied to the European Union for full membership in 1999 and as you know the accession process started in 2005.

This accession is based on the negotiation and transposition of the 35 chapters of Acquis Communautaire into Turkish Law, and as a matter of course it affects every sphere of life in Turkey, and has become part of our drive for reform. However much to our disappointment, several developments in Europe have seriously hindered the pace of this march. Until now, Turkey has been allowed to open only 15 chapters out of 35. Moreover, 14 of them are blocked outright by several countries, which can only be on the account of serious prejudice or handing over Turkish accession as a hostage to domestic politics and to the rise of anti-European, anti-immigration and islamaphobic, extreme right-wing parties which are sadly on the rise, as indicated by the latest European Parliament election and the regional elections in France. That being said, let me emphasize once again, no obstacle or attempt to discourage will succeed, they won’t diminish our determination and enthusiasm for membership in the family of the European Union.

Since 2010, in North Africa, in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe, all the political fluctuations, the environment of conflict on the ascendancy, instabilities, the refugee drama first in the Mediterranean and then in the Aegean Sea and the current circumstances - all these events - prove that cooperation between Europe and Turkey with a common mission and purpose, and in common spirit, is imperative and essential.

I want to say this frankly, that Turkey and the European Union are determined to build a common future in solidarity and further our ties to bolster the European Project against common threats and risks coming from our periphery. One of these risks, as confirmed in the G20 Statement and United Nations Resolutions, is terrorism. And the fight against terrorism, as the attacks in Paris, or the explosion in Sultanahmet have proved, is a priority for Europe and Turkey. There is no doubt that following up on this understanding, Europe and Turkey will take necessary measures in good time to alleviate the humanitarian crisis resulting from terrorism and refugee flows.