Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 279

Posts Tagged ‘turkey’

Büyükada case: a decisive opportunity for Turkey to show respect for international standards

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 7 luglio 2020

Leading MEPs call on Turkey to protect human rights defenders and leave open space for civil society and pluralism, which is a key element of the accession process.The European Parliament´s standing rapporteur for Turkey, Nacho Sánchez Amor (S&D, ES), and the Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, Sergey Lagodinsky,(Greens/EFA, DE) said:“After recent disappointing judiciary decisions on landmark cases such as the one of Osman Kavala, the final hearing and sentence tomorrow of the emblematic ‘Büyükada case’ represents a decisive opportunity to clarify if Turkey abides by its international commitments and standards or if the country further moves apart from them.
We believe that a true, open space for civil society and pluralism is a fundamental pillar for any democratic society and it is a key element of the accession process. In this regard, the activities of human rights defenders should be protected by the state, not prosecuted.We remain hopeful that the upcoming judiciary decision will mark a change of course and not yet another blow against the independent civil society in Turkey, whose space has shrunk dramatically over the last years.
We encourage Turkish authorities to advance towards a serious judicial reform, bringing it into line with the required standards of the EU and those of the Council of Europe, of which the country is a full member. In this sense, the respect and enforcement of the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights remains an indispensable first step.”

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COVID-19: Law on release of prisoners in Turkey is “a great disappointment”

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 17 aprile 2020

ruling parties have decided to “deliberately expose the lives of those whom they consider political opponents to the risk of the deadly COVID 19”, warn MEPs.
European Parliament standing rapporteur on Turkey, Nacho Sánchez Amor (S&D, ES), and Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens/EFA, DE), said:”The legal amendments by the Turkish Parliament allowing the release of 90.000 prisoners, but excluding those imprisoned for their political activities and citizens in pre-trial detention, is a great disappointment. We had hoped that the Turkish Parliament would adopt a fair, responsible and non-discriminatory law that would save lives from being lost in overcrowded Turkish prisons. Such a law is needed, especially for those unjustly detained and imprisoned for political reasons. Instead, the Turkish ruling parties have decided to deliberately expose the lives of journalists, human rights defenders and those whom they deem to be political opponents to the risk of the deadly disease COVID 19.The EU and its member states must address this problem with their Turkish counterparts at all levels. We also call upon the European Court for Human Rights to speed up necessary verdicts in the cases of citizens imprisoned and detained in Turkey for political reasons, but also to save lives, given the risk of epidemics in overcrowded Turkish prisons.We express our continued solidarity with the Turkish people in these difficult times, in which we are all together on the same side in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We acknowledge Turkey’s readiness to help and sincerely appreciate Turkish medical support to foreign countries, including to EU countries like Italy and Spain. We reiterate that the EU is also ready to support Turkey in its fight against the virus. This challenge is huge and we want to fight it together in a democratic and non-discriminatory manner, saving the lives of all citizens regardless of their political views, affiliations or convictions.”To curb the spread of the coronavirus in its prisons, Turkey´s parliament passed a law on Monday that allows tens of thousands of prisoners to be temporarily released or released early. These measures exclude persons sentenced for murder, sexual and drug-related offences and those jailed on terrorism charges. The new measures have been criticised by opposition parties and human rights organisations, as people convicted under anti-terrorism laws include journalists, lawyers, political and human rights activists.
According to the Turkish justice minister, there were 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among prisoners, including three deaths. At the end of March, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on governments to take urgent action to protect the health and safety of people in detention and other closed facilities, as part of overall efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Turkey: non-discriminatory release of prisoners in fight against COVID-19

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 3 aprile 2020

MEPs express their solidarity and support for the increasing efforts to fight the pandemic in Turkey
European Parliament’s standing Rapporteur on Turkey, Nacho Sánchez Amor (S&D, ES), and Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens/EFA, DE), said:“We would like to express our solidarity with the Turkish people in these difficult times.Whatever the state of play of our political relationship, we are all on the same side in this and we need to act together to fight the pandemic. We call on the European Commission and the member states to include Turkey in the efforts that the EU is making in this combat, also by mobilising funds from the EU Solidarity Fund or other instruments to help Turkey, if Ankara requests this.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. We welcome the Turkish government’s plan to substitute prison time with alternatives such as early parole or house arrest, which could apply to up to 100.000 inmates. This measure is in line with the recent call made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to all governments.However, it is crucial to apply this in a non-discriminatory and objective way, based on health criteria and on the risks that released prisoners may pose to society.In Turkey, there are currently hundreds of journalists, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, politicians, academics, human rights defenders, artists and others who are in pre-trial detention or serving sentences without evidence that they committed any violent act or crime. To exempt them from the early release measures would represent an aggravated punishment and unjustified unfair treatment, as they do not represent any risk to public security. We urge the Turkish authorities to follow the call made by the UN High Commissioner and release every person detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting political views”.

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“Turkey and the EU must intensify dialogue”, says EP Foreign Affairs Chairman McAllister

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 29 febbraio 2020

“Re-establishing trust and improving communication are crucial for improving EU-Turkey relations”, emphasised the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, David McAllister, following the visit of a delegation of eight members of the Foreign Affairs Committee to Ankara and Mardin. The Chairman emphasised the importance of dialogue between Turkey and the EU at all levels: “We may not always share the same views, but we must continue talking to each other. This is why we came to Turkey. It is also the reason why I have invited the Foreign Minister to address the Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels or Strasbourg.”“Turkey is an accession candidate and a key strategic partner for the EU, despite the current difficulties in our relations. The EU and Turkey continue to share many common challenges and interests. Therefore, we need to keep working with each other, for instance on foreign policy and regional challenges like Syria, the fight against terrorism, the economy and migration”, the Chairman said.David McAllister emphasised that improvements in the area of the rule of law are required to get the accession process back on track. “Our expectation is clear: Turkey must take concrete steps to improve the rule of law and ensure the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press and respect for human rights. It should also work towards good neighbourly relations with Cyprus. These issues are at the heart of the accession process. On the other hand, the EU should encourage reforms by maintaining a credible accession perspective. Turkey should be judged on the basis of the same objective criteria as any other candidate country.”The delegation also visited an EU-funded migrant health centre in Mardin, one of 178 in Turkey funded through a EUR 300 million grant to the Turkish Ministry of Health under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey. The Members acknowledged Turkey’s commendable hospitality toward the 3,6 million Syrian refugees in the country. David McAllister said: “We owe gratitude to the Turkish people. Europe will not leave Turkey alone in shouldering this burden.”

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Chair’s statement: MEP denied right to monitor a trial in Turkey

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 20 febbraio 2020

Statement by the Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee.
Turkish authorities denied Member of the European Parliament Özlem Demirel (GUE/NGL, DE) the right to monitor a court hearing in Ankara. Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens/EFA, DE), the Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, made the following statement:“It is unacceptable that my colleague Özlem Demirel was denied the right to monitor the court hearing. So far, such observation visits have been common practice in our bilateral cooperation. I consider the order to my second deputy in the EU-Turkey delegation, Ms Demirel, to leave the court building, a crude departure from our common practice, a provocation and a covert personal threat. I strongly condemn my colleague being treated in this way.Such incidents could further strain our bilateral parliamentary relations and ultimately destroy any remaining confidence in democratic culture in Turkey. The European Parliament and the German Federal Government must request a comprehensive clarification of the incident.”Özlem Demirel travelled to Turkey in her capacity as a Member of the European Parliament and as an international observer in order to support the families of the victims and to monitor the trial following the bombing of a peaceful demonstration on 10 October 2015.

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New EP Turkey rapporteur: “New narrative for EU-Turkey relations needed”

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 25 gennaio 2020

“We need to keep the Turkish EU accession process on track”, said Parliament’s new rapporteur for Turkey, Nacho Sánchez Amor, following his first official visit to the country this week.Turkey is and should remain a candidate country, despite the current difficulties in EU-Turkey relations”, Mr Sánchez Amor said.
In meetings with government representatives, party leaders, mayors, parliamentarians and civil society representatives in Istanbul, Gaziantep and Ankara, the rapporteur emphasised the importance of close relations both for Turkey and the EU.
“We need to communicate more and better to overcome the current lack of trust between Turkey and the EU. Therefore, political dialogue should be revived at all levels. I am convinced that it is important to broaden our dialogue, for instance by strengthening the cooperation at local level between municipalities, universities, and other actors. We also need to further strengthen contacts at parliamentary level”, said Mr Sánchez Amor.In order to restore trust, it is important that both sides deliver on their commitments, the rapporteur stressed. “Turkey needs to come back to normality after the exceptional period resulting from the attempted coup of July 2016. I encourage Turkey to work with the EU on reforms to improve the rule of law, including the independence of the judiciary and the situation of fundamental rights, such as the freedom of expression and the media. On the other hand, the EU needs to maintain a credible accession perspective, based on an objective assessment of the conditions.”Nacho Sánchez Amor also met with several organisations and EU-funded projects assisting Syrian refugees in Gaziantep. “Turkey has been incredibly generous in hosting four million refugees. We owe gratitude to Turkish society, but also continuous support as long as the need is there.”

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Berg MEP to European Council on discussion on Turkey EU-Membership

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 18 ottobre 2019

Ahead of the meeting of the European Council this Thursday and Friday in Brussels, German MEP Lars Patrick Berg has demanded that the EU finally terminate all negotiations regarding Turkey’s accession to the EU.Mr Berg argued that Turkey was not a European country, and does not act in accordance with European values. “I am co-sponsoring a resolution in the EU-Parliament condemning Turkey’s brutal action in northern Syria. Turkey is behaving like a rogue state, undermining security and acting as a friend to terrorism”.”Serious concerns have been raised that Turkey’s actions will enable ISIS to re-establish itself in the region, and with Turkey’s threat to open the gates to even greater migration into Europe from Turkey there is concern that extremists will find their way to Europe with Turkish support.”“German interests are opposite to those of Erdogan’s regime” stated Berg. “The sooner we in Europe confront Turkey’s destabilising policies the sooner we will have a safer Europe. I hope next week the Member States will agree that Turkey needs to be isolated”.

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Purchasing Property in Turkey With Cryptocurrency Now Possible With Antalya Homes

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 16 marzo 2019

Despite the loss in the value of many digital currencies and particularly Bitcoin in the past year, data from Statista indicates that the number of cryptocurrency wallet owners has increased 32% and reached 31 million by the end of 2018. Widely used in many industries including automotive, travel and informatics, cryptocurrency has also become widespread in the real estate sector.Leading companies in the world such as Microsoft, Virgin Atlantic and Shopify now allow users to make payments in cryptocurrencies for their products and services. The real estate sector has also experienced an increase in the use of digital currencies and it is now possible to buy houses with cryptocurrency in Turkey, a home for many foreign investors. With a total market value of 140 billion dollars, cryptocurrency is actively used in travel, food, information technologies, automotive as well as real estate sectors. As one of the most attractive European countries for housing investment where 40 thousand properties have been sold to foreigners in 2018, Turkey uses not only Bitcoin (BTC) but also Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Litecoin (LTC), Tether (USDT) and Stellar (XLM) for house sale transactions. Antalya Homes, the leading international real estate agency, which has helped thousands of foreigners obtain a home in Turkey to date, adopted an innovative approach selling nine houses in 2018 using Bitcoin (BTC).

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Death penalty in Turkey – Illusions in Europe

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 22 maggio 2017

Albert Camus and Adnan Menderes1Albert Camus and Adnan MenderesWhat is the future of the EU-Turkey relationship? In two new ESI papers we suggest how to reform a dysfunctional accession process; and when to bring it to an end. We seek to dispel illusions, restore clarity and propose ways how the European Union and the Council of Europe might better protect fundamental human rights.
In his essay “Reflections on the Guillotine” in 1957 French writer Albert Camus takes an uncompromising position against the death penalty, writing that: “A man is destroyed by the wait for death long before he really dies.” At the time Camus’ native French Algeria was in the throes of a ferocious conflict. Routine torture, summary executions of captured prisoners, mass internment and the use of the death penalty characterised the French counter-insurgency strategy. Military tribunals in French Algeria rendered almost 1,500 death sentences between 1954 and 1962. Of these, 198 were carried out. After 1957 all lawyers who used to defend Algerian rebels were arrested or put under house arrest; several were suspended, two murdered.When the European Convention on Human Rights was adopted in Rome in 1950, it explicitly recognised the legality of capital punishment. It did not limit the crimes which could be punished in this way. This created a huge gap for human rights protection, which had terrible consequences. In 1957, the year Camus wrote his essay, Evaghoras Pallikarides, aged 19, was hanged in the British Crown Colony Cyprus. “The offence for which he was executed was that of possessing a weapon. It was a light machine gun, and it was not in a serviceable condition at the time he was apprehended.” This was not an isolated incident. The UK had proclaimed a state of emergency in Cyprus in November 1955, resorted to mass detention without trial, vastly extended the use of the death penalty, imposed draconian censorship laws and enacted extensive powers to requisition property.Cyprus did not remain under British control, and spiralled into further violence soon. France lost Algeria and left behind untold bitterness. The recent history of European powers dealing with colonial insurgencies is a record of immense human rights abuses and abysmal policy failures. It is a reminder of how tempting it has been, even for democratic leaders faced with violence, to resort to repression, intimidation and the use of extreme measures. And how badly this has ended.

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Migration: MEPs to assess deal with Turkey and situation in the Western Balkans

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 28 aprile 2017

turchiaCivil Liberties MEPs will assess this afternoon with the European Commission the results of the deal concluded with Turkey one year ago to better manage the refugee and migration flows, as well as the situation in the Western Balkan route. The debate will take place from 16.00 to 18.00.Mr Maarten Verwey, appointed by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to coordinate the implementation of the deal, will present the fifth progress report on the cooperation with Ankara since the signature of the EU-Turkey statement, on 18 March 2016.
The Commission will also report to the Committee on the financial aid provided so far to the country for assisting refugees. Through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, the EU committed at the end of 2015 to mobilise 3 billion euro for the period 2016-2017 to assist Syrian refugees and asylum-seekers in the country (1 billion from the EU budget, 2 billion from Member States).According to Commission´s data, by the end of February 2017, 2.2 billion had already been allocated, with half of the financial envelope already contracted (1.5 billion) and 750 million effectively disbursed.MEPs will also be presented with an assessment on the provision of emergency support within the Union, exceptionally activated to provide assistance in those member states more affected by the influx of refugees and migrants. The Commission will release up to €700 million for the period 2016 to 2019 to fund emergency support.Finally, representatives of the Commission will update the committee on the situation in the Western Balkan migration route, following its intended closure in March last year.

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What is at stake in Turkey’s referendum

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 17 aprile 2017

eldoganTURKS go to the polls this Sunday, April 16th, to choose between the parliamentary system they have lived under for nearly a century and a new constitution that would concentrate all executive power in the hands of their president. A “yes” vote would overhaul the state in its present form, abolishing the post of prime minister, sidelining parliament, and formalising a system in which the president answers no one except voters. A “no” would mark a major setback for Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, though far from a fatal one. Yet there is much more riding on the outcome than one man’s political fortunes. What is at stake? Turkey’s judiciary would be among those to suffer the most. In the 2000s Mr Erdogan’s government allowed the Gulen community, a secretive Islamic movement, to pack the justice system with its sympathisers. All hell broke loose when the two allies turned on each other. Prosecutors and police officials close to the Gulenists implicated Mr Erdogan and his allies in a cascading corruption scandal in 2013; thousands of them were purged in response. When army officers close to the movement were accused of spearheading a violent coup in the summer of 2016, the purge intensified. Over the past nine months, the government has sacked a quarter of all judges and prosecutors over suspected Gulen links. More than 2,500 of them are currently behind bars, leaving the judiciary depleted and terrified of rubbing Mr Erdogan the wrong way. The new constitution would make the justice system even more beholden to Mr Erdogan and his party. At the moment, the president appoints four of the 22 members of the country’s most influential judicial body, the high council of judges and prosecutors. The rest are elected by their peers. The new constitution would decrease the number of members and allow Mr Erdogan and his allies in parliament to appoint all of them. None of the appointments would be subject to hearings.
The new constitution would also place the legislative branch at the disposal of the executive. A key change would allow the president to retain links with his party, handing Mr Erdogan the power to keep his Justice and Development (AK) party in check by choosing parliamentary candidates. Parliament’s powers of scrutiny would also change. According to current rules, MPs can address oral questions to the prime minister and cabinet members. The proposed amendments would allow only for written questions, and only to ministers and vice presidents, instead of the president. In areas where parliament has not passed any laws the president would have the right to issue decrees. A new provision would widen the scope for Mr Erdogan’s impeachment by parliament, though it would set the bar for removing him from office exceptionally high. Proposing an investigation would require a simple majority in pariament, but opening one would require 60% of MPs to agree. The final decision would rest with the constitutional court, composed almost entirely of the president’s appointees. Parliamentary and presidential elections would be held simultaneously every five years. In theory, each institution could keep the other in check by keeping a finger on the eject button: the president and the parliament would be able to cut short each other’s mandates, as well as their own, by calling early elections.
Mr Erdogan has been in power for 14 years, longer than any Turkish leader since the founder of the republic, Kemal Ataturk. The constitution would allow him to serve a maximum of two five year terms, beginning with presidential elections in 2019. There is a catch: if parliament were to call early elections during his second term, Mr Erdogan would be eligible to run for a third. In theory, this would allow him to remain in power until as late as 2034. As large an impact as Sunday’s vote might have on his future, it will have an even bigger one on his country’s. (by The Economist)

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EU – Turkey deal should be taken to Court, French human rights ombudsman tells MEPs

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 19 ottobre 2016

turchiaThe EU- Turkey deal goes against all rules, said Mr Toubon, French Defender of Rights. He added that the deal should be taken to the European Court of Justice as it is against the Charter on Fundamental Rights.
MEPs in particular asked about the situation of unaccompanied minors living in the shantytowns in the refugee camps in Calais such as the “Jungle” which a delegation from the Civil Liberties Committee visited in July.
Mr Toubon, who described his role as Defender of Rights as a form of ombudsman with effective powers such as the power to make observations and give recommendations, shared their worries regarding the conditions in the camps and the protection of the children.
He stressed the responsibility of the UK for the children, and urged that some of the more stable structures remain as shelters for the minors when the Jungle is dismantled.
Mr Toubon also voiced concerns about some aspects of the French emergency law, introduced following the terrorist attacks, in particular in relation to the power to carry out house searches at night, based on administrative decisions, and the effect such searches might have on children who witness them.

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IFC Becomes a Shareholder in Turkey’s Akfen Energy to Boost Renewable Energy, Combat Climate Change

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 25 giugno 2016

istanbulIstanbul, Turkey, a member of the World Bank Group, is becoming a shareholder of renewable energy company Akfen Yenilenebilir Enerji (Afken Energy), part of an effort to ramp up the production of clean power in Turkey.IFC is investing $100 million in Akfen Energy, a subsidiary of Akfen Holding, to acquire a 16.67 percent stake in the company. The investment will help Akfen Energy to almost triple its renewable energy production. The company operates solar- and hydro-power plants and is expanding into wind farms. IFC’s investment is designed to support Turkey’s emerging clean energy industry, help the country reduce its reliance on climate-changing fossil fuels, and bolster domestic power supplies.“We aim to become a leading player in the renewables market in Turkey and IFC’s equity investment in our company provides strong support to realize this goal,” said Akfen Holding Chairman Hamdi Akın: “We are in the process of creating a new platform for all investors in renewable energy, which will utilize Turkey’s local renewable energy resources with sustainable generation in all segments of the energy sector.”IFC has a long-standing partnership with Akfen Holding, a multinational corporation. IFC has supported several projects spearheaded by the company, including the Mersin International Port Eurobond issue and the construction of TAV Tiblisi Airport. After the closing procedures, as shareholder in Akfen Energy, IFC will nominate a board member to the company, further improving the company’s corporate governance. “Renewable energy is a key and sustainable solution to meet ever growing energy demand and Turkey benefits from a wealth of renewable energy resources.” said Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Vice President, Global Client Services. “The private sector has a significant role to play in supporting Turkey’s targets in utilizing these resources. We are happy to extend our strong relationship with Akfen into the energy sector and to continue to contribute to the company’s efforts to bolster renewable energy production.” This is IFC’s third equity investment in Turkey’s power sector. It is designed to help the country reach its goal of generating 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2023.
Turkey’s energy sector has achieved a transformational shift over the last 10 years, going from a reliance on public investments and state guarantees towards private sector investments. The World Bank Group has been a long-time partner in this reform process. In Turkey, IFC’s second largest country of operations globally, IFC has significantly increased its investments in the power sector by investing and mobilizing a total of $695 million over the last three years.Globally, IFC invested more than $4 billion in power, transport and energy projects in FY15, including funds mobilized from third parties.

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Global call for urgent action on sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 24 maggio 2016

istanbulIstanbul, Turkey- Tewodros Melesse, Director General,International Planned Parenthood Federation, Babatunde Osotimehin Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund, World Health Organisation and senior leaders from the Governments of Australia, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands and Jordan called for urgent action to include sexual and reproductive health in the immediate lifesaving interventions in crisis at the World Humanitarian Summit today.“Too often, sexual and reproductive health and rights in emergencies are overlooked and critically underfunded. It is a life saving intervention that protects dignity and keeps people protected when their world has been turned upside down. We need to ensure that there is a coordinated response on the ground which has the same status as other humanitarian response like food, shelter, water and sanitation. This is a minimum set of standards for a sexual and reproductive health frontline actions. We urge governments to factor to recognise and implement reproductive health into their own humanitarian response delivery.” said Tewodros Melesse, IPPF Director General.Reproductive health issues are the leading cause of women’s ill health and death worldwide and these problems are compounded during a crisis. Around 60 percent of preventable maternal deaths take place in crises and fragile settings.Women and girls are disproportionately affected by humanitarian crises exposed to early marriage, trafficking, rape, forced pregnancies, unattended service delivery during complicated pregnancies and delivery.
125 million people are affected by crises. One quarter of those people are women of reproductive age – that’s 31 million and women are 14 times more likely to die than men in a crisis.IPPF is calling for donor governments to ensure that services are more equitably distributed between conflict zones and natural disasters. In particular in conflict areas, lack of funding leads to worse sexual and reproductive health outcomes for women and girls. Rajat Khosla, Human Rights Advisor Reproductive Health, World Health Organization spoke of the urgent need to prioritize sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings, he said “We are now looking at people who are affected for 17 to 20 years by a crisis. We can no longer operate a business as usual approach. We need to change to a comprehensive health response that includes sexual and reproductive health and rights that leaves no one behind”.

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Visa liberalisation for Turkey must not turn into a “sell-out”, say MEPs

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 12 maggio 2016

migrantsMEPs voiced serious concerns about Turkey’s lack of progress in meeting the U’s preconditions for liberalising its visa regime for Turkish nationals, as required by the 18 March deal between the EU and Turkey to help stem the flow of migrants into the EU.
Dutch defence minister Jeanine HENNIS-PLASSCHAERT for the Council recalled that the 18 March statement accelerated an existing process, following a roadmap approved in 2013. “It is not just a present to President Erdogan or a concession, but something from which we all will benefit, millions of European tourists and millions of Turks, including human rights activists.” She nonetheless recognized that “Turkey has a lot of homework to do.” The Council working party on visas had begun its legislative work on the Commission proposal that morning, she reported.
Commissioner Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS also acknowledged that Turkey still needed to make progress, but said he was “optimistic” that Ankara would “give a final push” to the necessary reforms by the end of June. “We are not watering down our standards”, he assured MEPs.
Mariya GABRIEL (EPP, BG) voiced her group’s support for the 18 March agreement, but said that Turkey must meet all criteria for visa liberalisation before Parliament’s vote. “We need to take time to finalise details, examine the Council’s position and have safeguard mechanisms in place”, she said.
Tania FAJON (S&D, SL) said that the EU should not make promises without ensuring that all its requirements are fulfilled. The antiterrorist legislation and data protection issues, among others, need to be dealt with,” she added, warning that “we can´t allow exceptions, because that will have a boomerang effect.”
Helga STEVENS (ECR, BE) said that conditions for Turkey should be especially stringent, it being a candidate member state, without any double standards. She felt “ashamed of the irresponsible behaviour of the Commission towards a dictator.”
The criteria for visa exemption must be fulfilled, insisted Sophie in ´t Veld (ALDE, NL). Europe is “being subjected to President Erdogan’s blackmail, because we are weak and divided”. She regretted that EU leaders “make deals with dictators” instead of agreeing a common European refugee policy.
Marie-Christine VERGIAT (GUE/NGL, FR) said that President Erdogan aims to campaign for and install an authoritarian regime.” I’m in favour of visa liberalisation but not at any condition and not by closing our eyes on what is actually going on in Turkey”, she concluded.
Rebecca HARMS (Greens/EFA, DE) pointed to a growing number of democratic and human rights violations in Turkey and said that the EU must not depend on Turkey, but take responsibility, together with the UN, to find solutions to the refugee crisis. “It is a mistake to mix refugee strategy and neighbourhood policy”, she added.
Fabio Massimo CASTALDO (EFDD, IT) criticised the “illegal agreement” between the EU and Turkey and warned that President Erdogan “cannot be our friend”.
Marine Le PEN (ENF, FR) described the idea of giving visa-free access to Turks as “absolutely crazy”, adding that President Erdogan was using migration as a weapon against the EU.

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Will Turkey be ready for visa-free access to the EU by June? – Debate in LIBE

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 21 aprile 2016

turchia-ist3Civil Liberties MEPs will assess on Thursday with the Commission the progress made by Turkey in fulfilling the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap, following the agreement between EU leaders and Ankara to speed up the process with a view to offer Turkish citizens visa-free access to the EU by June 2016 at the latest. As part of the EU-Turkey deal reached on 18 March to better manage migration and refugee flows, EU leaders offered the Turkish government to accelerate the visa liberalisation, provided that all benchmarks are met. Once the Commission presents a legislative proposal to this end, the Parliament will have to decide together with the Council under the codecision procedure.
On Thursday, MEPs will discuss with the Commission its most recent report on the Turkish progress, of 4 March, and the remaining requirements. Commissioner Avramopoulos has announced that the next progress report will be published on 4 May. The debate will start around 10.00. The Civil Liberties Committee meeting will be held in room 4Q2, József Antall building, in Brussels.

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EU – Turkey migration deal: state of play and next steps

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 8 aprile 2016

ankaraCivil Liberties MEPs quizzed the Commission on the conditions in the Greek reception facilities, the number and background of staff. MEPs also stressed the need to respect international law and live up to EU standards. Under the agreement, finalised by heads of state and government at the summit on 18 March, all people arriving irregularly from Turkey to the Greek islands are to be returned, while the EU is to take in one Syrian refugee for each Syrian sent back. Once irregular crossings from Turkey have been substantively reduced, a Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme will be activated. The deal also opened up for faster visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens travelling to the EU, provided Ankara complies with the requirements.

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LIBE meeting 7 April – Brussels attacks/EU-Turkey deal on migration/sale of citizenship/drugs/Rule of Law

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 7 aprile 2016

bruxelles (1) Thursday 7 April 2016, 9.00 – 12.30 and 14.00 – 17.00 – Room József Antall (JAN) 4Q1. Follow-up to the extraordinary meeting of EU Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of Thursday 24 March 2016 after the terrorist attacks in Brussels on 22 March (9.00 – 9.15).Joint debate on the main challenges the EU and Turkey are facing in the field of migration (9.15 – 10.45). MEPs will discuss, among other topics: Next operational steps in EU-Turkey cooperation in the field of migration.
Turkey Joint Action Plan – Third implementation report.
Progress by Turkey in fulfilling the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap.
Exchange of information on third country nationals and European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) – Consideration of draft report – rapporteur Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK). (12.00-12.30) Sale of citizenship in EU Member States and allegations of corruption in the issuing of residence permits and Visas from member state consulates and embassies in third countries and the security implications for the EU – Exchange of views with the Commission. (16.00 – 17.00)
Provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Sweden regarding the emergency relocation decisions from Italy and Greece – rapporteur Ska Keller (Greens, DE). (11.30 – 12.00) The internet and drug markets – presentation by Mr Alexis Goosdeel, Director of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), and by Europol. (14.00 – 15.00)
An EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights – Presentation of an assessment by the European Parliament Research Service and two research papers by Dr Petra Bárd (Central European University, Budapest), and Professor Laurent Pech (Middlesex University, London). (15.00 – 16.00)

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EU-Turkey deal: Next days will be crucial, human rights must be upheld, says Civil Liberties Chair

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 22 marzo 2016

turchia-ist3The EU should offer support to Greece to ensure returns to Turkey are carried out in full respect of international law and human rights, according to Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee Chair, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK).Following the agreement reached by EU leaders and the Turkish government on Friday 18 March, Mr Moraes said:“The EU-Turkey deal agreed last week in response to the refugee crisis is already showing worrying signs which the European Parliament has previously warned. As stated by President Martin Schulz, we cannot “outsource” our problems to Turkey. We must observe international law and human rights.Following the decision to carry out readmissions of refugees and asylum-seekers to Turkey it is important that Greece is given much needed support from member states without delay to ensure its asylum conditions are significantly improved to carry out returns in full respect of international law. Greece cannot be left alone to shoulder the responsibility of the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War”.
Mr Moraes set out some key concerns:“Just last week in a joint meeting of the Civil Liberties and Development committees with Commissioner Styliades, MEPs were given assurances that the relocation of 160,000 people in need of international protection from Italy and Greece was still in place. Under the deal, relocation appears to be put on hold which raises key questions as to what guarantees will member states give to support the thousands of persons stuck in Greece following the border closures along the ‘west-Balkan route’. Member states must not ignore their existing commitments to take in people in clear need of international protection”.
“On the issue of smuggling, as spring approaches it is important that we move the narrative towards enhancing safer and legal routes to Europe to avoid more deaths at sea. Focusing on strengthening borders and sending people back will merely offer smuggling networks the chance to expand to other parts of the Mediterranean and Agean, which will lead to more dangerous routes taken to reach the EU”.
“As the refugee population continues to increase in the world, the EU needs to take a global approach to migration based on the principle of solidarity between states. The European Parliament and Civil Liberties committee in particular, will be watching every step of the way to ensure that this deal observes international law and if it does not we will call it out”.

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Cardinal Tagle to see Syria refugee crisis on visit to Lebanon for Caritas

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 28 febbraio 2016

turchia-ist3Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila will see how Caritas is helping refugees from Syria and Iraq on a visit to Lebanon 28 February to 2 March.In Syria’s neighbours, Caritas Jordan, Caritas Lebanon and Caritas Turkey continue to support refugees. They now number nearly 5 million people.Lebanon hosts over a million Syrians, putting enormous strain on a country of barely 4 million people. The European Union in comparison, with more than 500 million people, regards the arrival last year of a million migrants and refugees as a major emergency.
Caritas provides fuel, stoves, cash assistance, bedding, vouchers for food and other aid items, warm clothing for winter, free medical treatment, legal advice, protection and counselling. Caritas prioritises support to education as an entire generation of Syrian children risks losing their schooling. Caritas Lebanon also serves Iraqi refugees fleeing persecution.Cardinal Tagle is the president of Caritas Internationalis, which is coordinating relief efforts for the confederation of Catholic aid agencies. Caritas Internationalis is campaign for an end to the war in Syria as part of its Peace is Possible Campaign. Cardinal Tagle will also meet with migrant workers, including those from the Philippines, who have been abused by their employees and are being helped by Caritas Lebanon with legal aid, shelter, medical support and counselling.

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