Honouring of obligations and commitments by Turkey
Recommendation 1662 (2004)

Doc. 10274
16 September 2004

Reply from the Committee of Ministers
adopted at the 894th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (9 September 2004)

1.             The Committee of Ministers has brought Recommendation 1662 (2004) of the Parliamentary Assembly on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Turkey to the attention of member governments.

2.         The Committee of Ministers praises the progress achieved by Turkey since 2001 and welcomes the decision of the Assembly to close the monitoring procedure with respect to Turkey.  The Committee in particular refers to the abolition of the death penalty and ratification of Protocol 6 (ECHR) and the significant Constitutional and legislative reforms undertaken.  It welcomes the ongoing commitment of the Turkish authorities to apply and consolidate the reforms adopted so far and also to adopt further measures to ensure full compliance with Turkey’s different obligations and commitments, in particular under the European Convention on Human Rights.  In this context it welcomes the recent change of Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution, providing for the supremacy of Turkey’s international obligations in the field of human rights over domestic law.  This change has a great potential for improving the Turkish authorities’ capacity to give direct effect to the Convention and to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and thus both prevent new violations of the Convention and resolve a number of outstanding issues regarding the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (e.g. in the area of freedom of expression, religion and association and in order to allow the redress of the consequences of violations for individual applicants).

3.         Fully aware of its responsibility to assist Turkey in the member state’s efforts to meet its statutory obligations, the Committee of Ministers will continue and/or initiate cooperation activities in all fields raised by the Assembly.  In this respect, the Committee of Ministers calls upon Turkey to explore all possibilities available to it as a member state of the Group of States against Corruption – GRECO – and Party to the Criminal and Civil Law Conventions on Corruption (ETS Nos 173 and 174).

4.         The Committee of Ministers welcomes the signature by the European Commission and the Turkish Ministry of Justice in 2003 of a major Programme to contribute to judicial modernisation and penal reforms, whose technical assistance is ensured by the Council of Europe as from March 2004.  It also welcomes the positive results to date of other joint European Community/Council of Europe initiatives with Turkey, particularly in developing the training of judges, prosecutors and police on the ECHR and the human rights awareness raising campaign. It recommends the Turkish authorities to make full use of this existing framework to receive expert legal advice on draft legislation, in particular regarding the legislation enumerated in paragraph 3 (iii) of Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1662 (2004).

5.         Concerning equality between women and men, the Committee of Ministers recalls the decisions adopted at its 864th meeting on 4 December 2003 in the context of its thematic monitoring procedure and the difficulties encountered by the Turkish authorities that were highlighted in the Secretariat report. It therefore encourages the Turkish authorities to set-up or strengthen national mechanisms to ensure equality between women and men in Turkey, in particular to further protect women against violence. To this end, it encourages Turkey to request specific Council of Europe assistance to implementation of the legislative framework and policy in the field of equality between women and men.