27 June, 2008
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called on Turkey's institutions ''to respect each other's competences'' and join efforts to pursue political reforms that will turn the country into a modern democracy.
Following the proposals by rapporteur Luc Van den Brande (Belgium, EPP/CD), the parliamentarians adopted on Thursday a resolution in which it is stated that, regardless of its outcome, the lawsuit against the ruling party, as well as the Turkish Prime Minister and the Turkish President, ''is seriously affecting political stability in the country'' and the functioning of democratic institutions.
A press release by the Council of Europe says that the Assembly deems that the dissolution of political parties ''should be regarded as an exceptional measure to be applied only in cases where the party concerned uses violence or threatens civil peace and the democratic constitutional order.''
According to the Assembly, ''a comprehensive review of the law on political parties is required in order to bring this text fully into line with European standards'' and that the need for a new civilian constitution altogether ''has now become more evident than ever''.
In this regard, the government's initiative to draft a new constitution opens ''a window of opportunity for a broad national debate involving all actors of society.''
The Assembly asked its Monitoring Committee to intensify its post-monitoring dialogue with Turkey and closely follow the development of the democratic functioning of its state institutions and if need be ''seriously consider the possibility of re-opening the monitoring procedure.''
Greek deputy Anna Benaki underlined in her speech during the discussion which preceded, that Greece as a neighbouring country to Turkey was interested in the maintenance of stability in the broader region and in this respect "we express our deep concern in the event the ruling party's functioning is finally prohibited and if a court ruling destitutes the legally elected prime minister and we are strongly concerned over further developments in our neighbouring country."
Source: Athens News Agency