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22.09.2000

Turkey tested at the European Court of Human Rights

Turkey tested at the European Court of Human Rights  » NATO logistics meeting begins in Antalya  » Cem asks Verheugen not to include Turkish-Greek disputes in accord  » Israeli company wants to sell Egyptian gas to Turkey  » Sezer receives new US ambassador  » Australia vs. IAI: Seeking to convince Turkey to buy Boeing AEW&C  » Armenian nuclear power station may continue to threat Turkey  » Cay says Turkic republics should remove Soviet legal structure  » Cem: Turkish-EU relations on track
TDN-ee, Foreign Affairs Section ,September 22, 2000 22 September 2000, Copyright © Turkish Daily News

  • Turkey tested at the European Court of Human Rights
  • The Foreign Ministry gave the go-ahead to increase the number of Turkey's lawyers at the European court in the wake of the growing number of complaints from Greek Cypriots and the loss of 11 cases in one dramatic day
  • Lawyers who have defended Turkey at the European Court say that its problems will be solved by ending rights violations rather than increasing the number of lawyers
  • NATO logistics meeting begins in Antalya
  • Some 44 representatives from 15 NATO countries are participating in this fall's NATO logistics meeting
  • Cem asks Verheugen not to include Turkish-Greek disputes in accord
  • Foreign Minister Ismail Cem reportedly asked EU Commissioner Verheugen not to include Turkish-Greek and Cyprus disputes in the Accession Partnership Accord, which is being prepared by the EU and is expected to be announced on Nov. 8
  • Israeli company wants to sell Egyptian gas to Turkey
  • The Merhav Group is planning to sell Egyptian natural gas to Turkey via ship at present, but later it plans to construct a pipeline under the sea between Israel and Turkey
  • Sezer receives new US ambassador
  • Ambassador Pearson presents his credentials to President Sezer
  • Australia vs. IAI: Seeking to convince Turkey to buy Boeing AEW&C
  • Armenian nuclear power station may continue to threat Turkey
  • Armenia's Soviet-designed Metsamor nuclear power station, which is located very close to the Turkish border, may continue to threaten Turkey by extending operations past 2004, despite its government's earlier pledge to the European Union to close it by that date
  • Cay says Turkic republics should remove Soviet legal structure
  • Legal reforms are necessary to attract foreign capital, including Turkish capital, to these republics, State Minister Cay says
  • Cem: Turkish-EU relations on track

  • Turkey tested at the European Court of Human Rights

  • The Foreign Ministry gave the go-ahead to increase the number of Turkey's lawyers at the European court in the wake of the growing number of complaints from Greek Cypriots and the loss of 11 cases in one dramatic day
  • Lawyers who have defended Turkey at the European Court say that its problems will be solved by ending rights violations rather than increasing the number of lawyers

  • Inci Hekimoglu

    Istanbul - Turkish Daily News

    The Foreign Ministry gave the go-ahead to increase the number of Turkey's lawyers at the European Court of Human Rights after Constitutional Court Chief Justice Sami Selcuk underlined the fact that Turkey had lost 11 cases there in one dramatic day. While the ministry acted on the assumption that the problem was caused by a shortage of skilled lawyers, it remains to be seen if Turkey will lose fewer cases in the future.

    Professors Bakir Caglar and Aslan Gunduz, who represented Turkey at the European court in the past, believe that the problem will be solved only if new domestic legislation is passed to prevent violations of rights and freedoms. The figures for 1999 are a striking illustration of Turkey's poor record. The breakdown for that year is 106 violations of the right to life, 109 cases of torture and maltreatment, 129 violations of personal security, 232 violations of the right to a fair trial, 128 violations of freedom of thought and expression and 10 violations of the freedom of assembly. Turkey has already lost 17 cases this year.

    Professor Caglar said that Turkey's problem can't be fixed by hiring new lawyers, commenting that the problem of rights violations has to be solved first. Caglar said that while an expert lawyer might be able to reduce the cases which Turkey tends to lose, that this would still prove woefully insufficient.

    Professor Gunduz, echoing Caglar's opinion, said: "Turkey's problems at the European court during the last decade demonstrate the source of the problem. Legal arrangements are needed to prevent the breach of fundamental rights." Gunduz pointed to a group of "no-win" cases, first among which are forced occupations, and recommended the cases being resolved in a nonconfrontational manner as the best way out.

    Cyprus at the European court

    Caglar noted that the majority of cases against Turkey could be subsumed under two broad groups, namely the Southeast problem and Cyprus. He drew attention to the Sept. 20 public hearing on a case filed by the Republic of Cyprus against Turkey. "This case was brought by one state against another," he said. "It's a case brought by Greek Cyprus against Turkey and will soon be judged." Its significance is made clear by a June 4 European Commission report which stated: "There was no effective investigation about missing Greek Cypriots; their property rights [in Northern Cyprus] were consistently violated and they were subjected to inhuman and demeaning behavior."

    Caglar pointed out that this interstate case could set a precedent: "The matter will end in Strasbourg. If Turkey loses, the European court will be flooded with similar applications. The problem cannot be solved by the current government in Northern Cyprus or Turkey. Things will change only if there is a change of government in Northern Cyprus."

    Gunduz took exception to Caglar's view. He mentioned the Loizidou case, wherein a Greek Cypriot who owned land in the northern half of the island before 1974 filed a case for compensation for lost land. He said that the case was lost through "a strategic error." He said: "Turkey first argued that the charge was against the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [KKTC], but the European court refuted this claim on the grounds that the Turkish government is actually in control. Turkey should have defended its claim until the end, but it probably thought it would win in any case. In the end, it was asked to pay nearly $100,000 in compensation. Turkey said it would not make the payment. The demand was not viable."

    Gunduz said that "there would be no political or legal implications" if Turkey refused to cooperate. "Perhaps the European Council will expel Turkey, but it won't be able to exert further influence on the country in that case," he stated. Gunduz also noted that "The European court made a legal ruling in a political case." Caglar commented that such cases are used to exert pressure on Turkey. He said that the refusal to pay compensation could be damaging: "The Council of Europe's Ministers Committee ruled on Oct. 6, 1999 that Turkey should review its decision and abide by the conventions that it has signed. This implies that the Cyprus policy has to change." Caglar noted that while policy for Cyprus is made at the European Council and the European Union, the bilateral meetings in New York are crucial, and underlined that they usually work to the advantage of Greek Cypriots.


    Essential facts on Turkey and the European court

    According to a source from the European court who wanted to remain anonymous, there was a total of 2,661 pending applications at the European court as of Sept. 1 of this year. From 1991, when Turkey accepted the right of individual petitions, to 1998, there were 24 violations and three nonviolations. There were 17 violations in 1999 and 11 in 2000. The most important reason for the rapid increase in 1999 was that 13 people arrested for their statements on the Kurdish problem sued Turkey according to Article 10 of the Convention on Human Rights defining the freedom of expression.

    There has recently been a change in the type of cases against Turkey. There are fewer cases regarding the existence of military judges at State Security Courts (DGM), expropriation, failure to make compensation payments, lack of pretrial detention and violations of Articles 2-3 defining the right to life and decent treatment. Current cases focus on Article 10 on the right to free speech, Article 6 on the right to a free trial, procedures in criminal and civil cases and dismissal from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) because of religious belief.

    There has been a "small but steady" increase in the number of cases against Turkey. Other signatory states such as Russia, Italy, France, Poland and the United Kingdom also have a high number of cases, but Turkey is different in that many cases have never been filed in the country, which means that the European court has to do everything, including fact-finding.

    There are about 60-70 cases concerning Cyprus. The public hearing between Greek Cyprus and Turkey is significant in being an interstate case. The European court will determine if the charges are made up or if there are violations, after which the Council of Europe's Ministers Committee may ask definite states for measures to abide by rulings. Judgement on this case will be given in four to five months.


    NATO logistics meeting begins in Antalya

  • Some 44 representatives from 15 NATO countries are participating in this fall's NATO logistics meeting

  • Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    The NATO Logistics Activities Integration fall meeting began yesterday place in Antalya as hosted by the Turkish General Staff, the Anatolia news agency reported. The meeting, which is taking place at the Altis Golf Hotel, will last two days and is being attended by 44 representatives from 15 NATO countries. Among other things, the meeting will discuss Turkey's participation in peacekeeping operations, Turkey's integrated logistical support activities and measures to ensure that weapons and equipment holdings are put on a computer database.

    The meeting will also discuss the Continuous Acquisition Life Cycle Support (CALS) system whereby whatever equipment is purchased by the armed forces would be given full logistical support right up until it is taken out of service. This support would be planned and accounted for and the manufacturer would guarantee the support identified at the beginning during this period. Once the system is in place, all NATO logistics activities across the entire organization would be electronically recorded and this would reduce losses, mistakes and expenses in terms of manpower and costs. Turkey's position vis-a-vis CALS is second only to the United States and the country reportedly may take the lead over other NATO countries, including Great Britain.


    Cem asks Verheugen not to include Turkish-Greek disputes in accord

  • Foreign Minister Ismail Cem reportedly asked EU Commissioner Verheugen not to include Turkish-Greek and Cyprus disputes in the Accession Partnership Accord, which is being prepared by the EU and is expected to be announced on Nov. 8

  • Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, who is currently in Brussels for an official visit, met on Thursday with Guenter Verheugen, the European Union commissioner responsible for enlargement. Cem reportedly asked Verheugen not to include Turkish-Greek and Cyprus disputes in the Accession Partnership Accord, which is being prepared by the EU and is expected to be announced on Nov. 8.

    Greece has been struggling to get Cyprus and Aegean issues included in the accord, claiming that Turkish-Greek disputes are not only a problem between the two countries but an EU issue as well. Turkey does not want to include Turkish-Greek and Cyprus disputes in the accord on the grounds that these are related to bilateral relations between the two countries.

    Speaking after the meetings, Cem said that his talks with Verheugen were difficult but efficient. Cem also said he had told Verheugen about the latest developments in Turkey, particularly those related to human rights issues and efforts to abolish the death penalty.

    Verheugen said that there had been important improvements and reforms in Turkey after the Helsinki summit, adding that he and Cem had discussed the latest developments regarding Turkish-EU relations.

    Verheugen, stating that although the Accession Partnership Accord will be a one-sided document since it is being prepared by the EU, said that it will not include issues contrary to Ankara's expectations. He also mentioned that he was happy about current Turkish-EU relations, stressing that despite their different ideas and approaches, the meetings between Turkey and EU are continuing positively.

    Cem also said on Wednesday that there is a need for healthy dialogue between Turkish and EU parliamentarians. He added that the absence of Turkish members in the EU Parliament is causing some misunderstanding on issues regarding Turkey.

    Today Cem is set to continue his meetings with a number of high-level EU officials, including EU Commission Chairman Romano Prodi and EU Parliament spokesperson Nicole Fontaine.


    Israeli company wants to sell Egyptian gas to Turkey

  • The Merhav Group is planning to sell Egyptian natural gas to Turkey via ship at present, but later it plans to construct a pipeline under the sea between Israel and Turkey

  • Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    As Turkey continues to increase and diversify its natural gas sources before the onset of winter, an Israeli company, the Merhav Group, reportedly has advanced negotiations for a giant deal totalling billions of dollars for selling natural gas to Turkey.

    The Merhav Group is planning to sell Egyptian natural gas to Turkey now via ship, but later it plans to construct a pipeline under the sea between Israel and Turkey.

    It has been learned that Merhav is negotiating with Turkish state-owned Turkish Pipeline Company (BOTAS) and a Japanese company for financing. Merhav is expected to conclude the combined deal with both companies or only one. The idea is for the companies purchasing the gas to market it in Turkey also.

    Merhav is offering the gas to Turkey through its EMG consortium. It was also learned that in the past few days EMG's business structure has been decided upon. Merhav will hold 20 percent of the partnership, Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem 20 percent and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. 10 percent. The remaining 50 percent will be held by other Egyptian sources including banks and subsidiaries of the national petroleum company.


    Sezer receives new US ambassador

  • Ambassador Pearson presents his credentials to President Sezer

  • Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    President Ahmet Necdet Sezer received newly appointed United States Ambassador W. Robert Pearson at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, the Anatolia news agency reported.

    Pearson, who recently replaced Mark Parris, presented his credentials to Sezer. "I will be honored to represent my country in your great nation," he said.

    He also introduced members of his top staff and his wife to Sezer.

    Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sencer Ozsot was also present at the meeting.

    Ambassador Pearson visited Anit Kabir, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's mausoleum, after his meeting with Sezer.

    When signing the mausoleum's guestbook, Pearson recalled the speech that U.S. President Bill Clinton made to the Turkish Parliament during his visit last year. He wrote the following:

    "President Clinton said that what Turkey had accomplished during the 20th century was a living example of what people can do to make a better future for themselves. Turkey can really constitute a source of inspiration for people the world over."


    Australia vs. IAI: Seeking to convince Turkey to buy Boeing AEW&C


    Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    It has been learned that Israel's defense establishment is seriously concerned over reports that the Australian defense establishment is seeking to convince Turkey not to buy early warning aircraft manufactured by Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) but to acquire the same Boeing aircraft, the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C), as Australia itself.

    According to an article published in Israeli economic newspaper Globe on Wednesday, Australia was the first customer outside the United States to purchase the aircraft, and an increase in its sales will generate several advantages, such as lower prices and greater operational experience. The outcome of the $2 billion Australian tender was decided several months ago.

    Elta of the IAI group bid in the tender together with U.S. company Raytheon, which was to have been the principal contractor, and with European concern Airbus. The three offered the Phalcon early warning system, which includes a state of the art radar system developed by Elta aboard an Airbus 310 platform.

    Turkey has opened a tender for seven early warning aircraft, the value of which may amount to $2 billion. The Israeli-U.S.-European group is identical to the one that lost the Australian tender. The Turkish defense establishment is expected to announce the outcome of the tender soon.

    Elta General Manager Mordechai Shmueli confirmed to the media that Australia is acting in Turkey to promote Boeing's bid for the Turkish tender. He recently assessed that the Israeli-U.S.-European group's loss in Australia would not affect their chances in the Turkish tender.


    Armenian nuclear power station may continue to threat Turkey

  • Armenia's Soviet-designed Metsamor nuclear power station, which is located very close to the Turkish border, may continue to threaten Turkey by extending operations past 2004, despite its government's earlier pledge to the European Union to close it by that date

  • Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    Armenia's Soviet-designed Metsamor nuclear power station may continue to threaten Turkey by extending operations past 2004, despite its government's earlier pledge to the European Union to close it by that date.

    According to a news story on private radio station Radio Liberty, a spokeswoman for the Armenian Energy Ministry said that the deadline for decommissioning the Soviet-designed plant -- which produces 40 percent of the country's annual electrical output -- is "no longer realistic." Spokeswoman Zhasmena Ghevondian said that her government no longer believes that it will be possible to find alternative energy sources in the next three years.

    Late last week, Armenian authorities made sure that a reference to the target date of 2004 was removed from a clause on Metsamor in a statement adopted by an Armenian-European Union joint parliamentary committee. This was an obvious effort to water down its earlier promise to close the facility permanently within 39 months' time.

    Located some 40 kilometers west of Yerevan and thus near Turkey's border, Metsamor was shut down for safety reasons shortly after the country's 1988 devastating earthquake but was reactivated seven years later to end crippling power shortages.

    Metsamor is the sole nuclear facility in the world to go back online after so long a period of disuse. The decision to reactivate Metsamor was taken over the objections of leading Western nations and Turkey, which cited serious safety concerns. Unable to prevent its reactivation, the EU and the United States have since spent large sums on strengthening the plant's safety standards. In return for the aid, Armenia undertook to close it by the end of 2004.

    The EU ranks Metsamor among those potentially dangerous Soviet-built nuclear stations -- including Ukraine's notorious Chernobyl -- whose reactors must be brought to a halt as soon as possible.

    Authorities in Yerevan now say they expect an EU commitment both to assist in the planned construction of a strategic gas pipeline linking Armenia to neighboring Iran and to seek the lifting of Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades resulting from the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.


    Cay says Turkic republics should remove Soviet legal structure

  • Legal reforms are necessary to attract foreign capital, including Turkish capital, to these republics, State Minister Cay says

  • Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    Republics emerging in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in general and Tajikistan in particular should get rid of the Soviet legal structure for these republics to attract foreign capital, State Minister Abdulhaluk Cay said on Thursday.

    Cay's remark was cited in a written statement from the State Ministry. Cay has been on an official visit to the Central Asian republic upon a prior invitation by the Tajik authorities and in order to attend Turkey-Tajikistan Joint Economic Commission (KEK) meeting there.

    So far, Cay has been received by Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov and Deputy Prime Minister Farruh Muhittinov. Cay has also met with Economy and Foreign Relations Minister Azimov Yahyo and Trade Minister Shadi Kahirov.

    The statement says that the Tajik authorities requested in those meetings that Turkish businessmen invest in Tajikistan. Cay, for his part, said that first necessary legal arrangements should be undertaken in order to attract foreign capital, including Turkish capital.

    Cay also claimed that emotionalism should no longer be the basis upon which to conduct relations between Turkey and the Turkic republics of Central Asia and that such relations should now have more realistic foundations.


    Cem: Turkish-EU relations on track


    Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Wednesday that Turkish-European Union relations are on track and added that Turkey may start membership negotiations at the end of 2001.

    At a press conference after his meetings with EU officials, Cem said that the two sides had determined what should be done on the way to EU membership. "We have reached the point where we speak openly and sincerely and we understand each other more. This brings healthy developments in Turkish-EU relations," Cem said.

    Stressing that the duration of the membership process depends on Turkey, Cem stated: "Now the ball is in our court. We have to do something, and it is known what we have to do. Of course we have some problems with the EU Parliament, and we have different ideas and approaches from the European Commission. But it is a fact that nobody could foresee the current level of understanding between the two sides."

    Referring to the economic union of Turkey and the EU, Cem said that no problems are expected. "From the aspect of the economy, there seem to be no problems. But there may be some problems with political criteria. In other words, cautions about compliance with the Copenhagen criteria have intensified problems. However, we should be determined and should not be slow in making reforms. If there is a delay, there will be trouble," Cem added.

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