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Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Turkey
2002-09-24 15:09:16

By Nikos Markides-- Strasbourg, Sep 24 (CNA) -- The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called on the Committee of Ministers to consider seizure of Turkey's contribution to the Council and imposing a daily fine on Ankara, if the Turkish government continues to refuse to comply with a European Court of Human Rights decision, with regard to a human rights case a Greek Cypriot brought before the Court against Turkey.

Expressing ''grave concern'' about Turkey's continued refusal to respect the judgments of the Court, and in particular in the case of Titina Loizidou, the Assembly asked Ankara to pay without delay and warned that if there is no compliance with the Court decision, it will consider the repercussions of this refusal at its April session, next year.

The Assembly has also urged Turkey to adopt concrete measures with regard to the Court judgment in the interstate application of Cyprus against Turkey and to stop ongoing human rights violations of Greek Cypriots in the areas it occupies since its troops invaded the island in 1974.

Following last night's long discussion, the Assembly adopted a resolution and a recommendation in which it reiterates its calls on the Turkish authorities to ensure rapidly that ''concrete measures are adopted in the case of Cyprus v Turkey, notably to deal with the problems of missing persons in a manner respecting the Convention (European Convention on Human Rights) and to stop the ongoing violations of the rights of the Greek Cypriots in northern Cyprus''.

In its recommendation, the PACE ''urges the Committee of Ministers to take all necessary measures to ensure the execution of the Court's decisions without delay.'' |

The Assembly drew up a list of the oldest and/or more important cases still unsolved which raised issues relating to respect for life and prohibition of torture, freedom of expression and unfair trial. This list included the Cyprus v Turkey case.

The list also included the Loizidou case against Turkey, which is required to allow Loizidou access to her property in Turkish occupied Cyprus and pay her some 900,000 US dollars in compensation. In this hotly contested case, the Court said Loizidou is and remains the legal owner of her property and described the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus, which Ankara maintains, as subordinate local administration.

The Assembly, as the resolution reads, noting Turkey's continued refusal to respect the Court's judgments in the Loizidou case, ''it finds with the Committee of Ministers that this refusal demonstrates a manifest disregard by Turkey for its international obligations, both as a High Contracting Party to the Convention and as a member state of the Council of Europe.''

The Assembly therefore invites Turkey ''to ensure payment of the just satisfaction owed to the applicant without any further delay. In case this request is not satisfied, the Assembly will consider the consequences of such a continuing refusal at its session in April 2003.''

In case Turkey refuses or continues to delay payment of the just satisfaction, the Assembly ''recomments to the Committee of Ministers to consider taking all the necessary measures, including the seizure of the corresponding sum on Turkey's contribution to the Council of Europe and the application of a daily fine.''

The resolution says that the Assembly, ''welcomes the constitutional and legal changes which have recently taken place in Turkey, which will contribute to prevent the repetition of violations of the ECHR in the future.''

The PACE notes the changes relating to the scope of freedom of expression and freedom of association, in particular those relating to the activities of political parties, but ''it stresses, however, the need to go further and the importance attaching to the courts, and in the first place the highest courts, effectively applying the new provisions in such a way that Turkey respects the ECHR in general and the judgments of the European Court in particular.''

Despite the progress recently achieved, according to the resolution, ''the Assembly cannot but regret that a number of important problems remain outstanding'' and it calls upon the Turkish authorities to ensure that the modalities of payment of just satisfaction respect the judgments of the Court in 90 cases.

The Assembly calls upon Turkey to restore the applicants' civil and political rights in 18 cases of freedom of expression and that further legislative action is rapidly taken to ensure respect for freedom of expression, notably in the application of the anti-terror legislation.

The Assembly expresses its ''deeply regrets that the new legislation on reopening of proceedings adopted by Turkey in August 2002 expressly excludes any possibility of complying with the Court's judgment in the Sadak, Zana, Dicle and Dogan case, so that the four applicants will continue to serve their 15-year prison sentences imposed following an unfair trial.''

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