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Resolution adopted unanimously* by the Governing Council
at its 174rd session (Mexico, 23 April 2004)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Ms. Merve Safa Kavakçi of Turkey, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/174/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 173rd session (October 2003),

Taking account of the information provided by the source on 14, 16 and 22 April 2004,

Recalling that Ms. Kavakçi was duly elected in the April 1999 elections on the Virtue Party ticket but was prevented from taking her oath because she was wearing a headscarf at the swearing-in ceremony and was thus unable to carry out her parliamentary mandate; she was subsequently deprived of her Turkish nationality, for which reason the parliamentary authorities no longer considered her a member of the Turkish Parliament and even struck her name off the parliamentary records; moreover, on 22 June 2001, the Constitutional Court dissolved the party to which she belonged and banned her from political activity for five years; recalling its view that Ms. Kavakçi was not only arbitrarily prevented from assuming her mandate and duties as an elected representative of the Turkish people, thus depriving her constituents of the right to be represented by a person of their choice, but also deprived of her membership without any valid legal basis and under a procedure not provided for in Turkish law,

Considering that Ms. Kavakçi filed an application regarding the loss of her parliamentary mandate in the European Court of Human Rights, which has invited the Turkish Government to provide its observations on the admissibility of the application by 1 July 2004,

Considering that, according to the source, a charge under Article 159 of the Turkish Penal Code (insulting and vilifying the dignity of the Republic and of the Armed Forces in writing) on account of a statement she made in November 2001 on the AlJazeerah TV channel was withdrawn; however, another charge under Article 159 in respect of an interview she had given to the Gercek Hayat Magazine is still pending; Ms. Kavakçi, who is currently living in the United States of America, fears therefore that she would be arrested on her return to Turkey,

Recalling also that, at the hearing held with him on the occasion of the 109th Assembly (October 2003), the President of the Turkish Inter-Parliamentary Group, a former party colleague of Ms. Kavakçi, regretted the treatment meted out to her and stated that the Turkish Parliament had taken measures to prevent any recurrence of such a case,

  1. Deeply regrets that the parliamentary authorities have failed to reply to the letters addressed to them by the Secretary General regarding this case;

  2. Calls once again on the Turkish Parliament to provide redress to Ms. Kavakçi for the moral and financial prejudice she has suffered as a result of her arbitrary exclusion from Parliament, and recalls in this respect that the present Parliament itself has expressed regret at the treatment meted out to her by the previous Parliament;

  3. Would appreciate information as to what measures Parliament has taken to prevent any recurrence of such a case;

  4. Notes that proceedings regarding the loss of Ms. Kavakçi's parliamentary mandate are pending before the European Court of Human Rights, and wishes to be kept informed of the relevant proceedings;

  5. Notes that one charge brought against Ms. Kavakçi under Article 159 has been withdrawn and that another is still pending; wishes to ascertain the likelihood that the second charge will also be withdrawn;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the authorities and to the source;

  7. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 111th Assembly (September-October 2004).

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