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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 176th session (Manila, 8th April 2005)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Ms. Merve Safa Kavakçi of Turkey, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/176/13(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 175th session (October 2004),

Taking account of a letter from the President of the Turkish Inter-Parliamentary Group, dated 24 March 2005, and of a communication from the source dated 21 January 2005,

Recalling that Ms. Kavakçi was duly elected in the April 1999 elections on a Virtue Party ticket but was prevented from taking her oath owing to her wearing of a headscarf at the swearing-in ceremony, that she was subsequently deprived of her Turkish nationality, for which reason the parliamentary authorities no longer considered her to be a member of the Turkish Parliament and her name was struck off the parliamentary records, and that on 22 June 2001 the Constitutional Court dissolved the party to which she belonged and banned her from political activity for five years,

Considering that, on 28 May 2001, Ms. Kavakçi filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in relation to the revocation of her Turkish nationality and consequent loss of parliamentary membership, affirming that this violated her rights under Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and article 6, paragraph 1 (right to a fair and public hearing) of the European Convention on Human Rights and article 3 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights (guarantee of free elections which ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature), and that the Court has instituted the procedure to determine the admissibility of the application, in the course of which the Turkish Government provided its observations on 2 November 2004 and Ms. Kavakçi presented her comments thereon on 25 November 2004,

Noting that, in his letter of 24 March 2005, the President of the Turkish Inter-Parliamentary Group referred to the proceedings before the ECHR, adding that any comment that might prejudice the independence of the judiciary should be avoided,

  1. Thanks the President of the Turkish Inter-Parliamentary Group for his letter;

  2. Deeply regrets that the Turkish Parliament has taken no action to remedy the injustice Ms. Kavakçi suffered as a result of the decisions taken by the previous legislature; fails to understand the reasons for such inaction, all the more so given that the present parliamentary authorities themselves had expressed regret about, and criticised, the decisions which had led to the loss of Ms. Kavakçiís parliamentary mandate; notes that providing redress, if only symbolic, to her would not constitute any interference with the independence of the ECHR; and therefore once again calls on the Turkish Parliament to take such a measure;

  3. Notes that the decision of the ECHR on the admissibility of Ms. Kavakçiís case is pending; and requests the Secretary General to seek leave in due course from the European Court of Human Rights to submit to it a third-party intervention under the Court's Rule 61;

  4. Requests the Secretary General to inform the authorities and the sources accordingly;

  5. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 113th IPU Assembly (October 2005).

* The Turkish delegation took the floor to state that the reform undertaken in Turkey since October 2001 to bring the country's legislation into line with international human rights standards had resulted in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe closing its monitoring procedure in respect of Turkey. It declared that Ms. Kavakçi's case was pending before the European Court of Human Rights and that therefore any comments compromising the independence of the Court should be avoided.


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