Tag Archives: Council Europe

Council Of Europe Supports Turkish Government

The current Turkish government led by President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan of the Justice and Development Party(AKP) received support from the Council of Europe which regards the current court case aimed at closing down political parties to be ill advised. The key issue for the Council of Europe is the presence of any evidence the AKP is advocating violence or attempting to curtail the freedom of other political parties. No such evidence is apparent and the Council of Europe emphasized: “It is better to have political issues like these settled by ballots, and these issues discussed openly in Parliament and the media” rather than have a court decide which political party is legal or illegal.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe(PACE) urged Turkish courts to respect the rights of political parties and avoid closing them since such action impinged on the right of freedom of speech. The Turkish Constitutional Court is concerned about the emergence of a potential Islamic state which would suppress secular rights of its citizens. As of now, there is no evidence the AKP is moving in that direction and to assume it will move toward such ends risks undermining the basic right of free speech. One can be punished for what is done not what a judicial body believes may or may not be done.

Council Of Europe Questions Terror Lists

The Council of Europe has issued a report dealing with the validity of terror lists compiled in order to identify potential terrorists. Its study indicates several weaknesses in how lists are compiled and the rights of individuals to challenge their name being present on them. “There are no procedures for an independent reviews of decisions taken…A serial killer has a lot more rights.” Swiss Senator Dick Marty argues the lists “threaten democratic order” because of the possibility there are mistakes and people have difficulty getting their names erased once they are on a list.

An issue that concerns civil libertarians is who does the identification of a terrorist and what is the process of identification. Twenty years ago, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress was a terrorist organization and today it is the governing part of South Africa. Palestinians regard certain Israel military units as terrorist while Israel claims Hamas is a terrorist group. There is an ambiguous area in dealing with this topic. Obviously, there are groups whose goals contain terrorist aims, but there are also individuals and groups whose goals are construed as entailing violent means to achieve goals.

Council Of Europe Doubts Fairness Of Russian Election

Luc van den Brande who is involved with the Council of Europe’s program on human rights expressed misgivings about the fairness of the upcoming Russian election on December 2. He said there is little evidence the election would be fair, open, democratic, or transparent. Russia’s leading party, United Russia, completely dominates television sources and uses government money to propogandize its ideas to the public. Of the 85 political parties which attempted to have themselves placed on the ballot, only 11 were able to do so. He also expressed concern that only 300 international observers would be allowed to monitor the election compared to 1,163 who were allowed in 2003. The Russian Electoral Commission dismissed this complaint saying there was nothing in its nation’s constitution requiring foreign observers.

President Putin is in control of the nation and he has turned his back on the democratic enthusiasm which swept the country in the 1990s. His old KGB training dominates the manner in which he deals with elections– why bother since only one party-his United Russia– is allowed to gain victory.