Turkey's priorities at council of Europe helm include reform, ECHR, multiculturalism
After assuming chairmanship yesterday of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers for the next six months, Turkey laid out the five priorities of its tenure: CoE reform, reform of the European Court of Human Rights, strengthening independent monitoring mechanisms, EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights, and meeting the challenges of multicultural societies in Europe. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated during the chair handover ceremony that Ankara's overall aim is to reinforce the CoE's political role, visibility and influence. Turkey last chaired the council in 1992. Daryal Batibay, Turkey's permanent representative to the CoE, said expectations of Turkey are very high and its chairmanship will be noteworthy. "We're ready," he said. The CoE has an extensive agenda, and Davutoglu said that Turkey's program for the chairmanship is "very ambitious." Council's Communications Director Daniel Holtgen said, "I think this chairmanship provides an opportunity for Turkey to strengthen its European profile in European arenas. On one hand it will help Turkey further align with the European Union, while on the other it will help us learn more about contemporary discussions in Turkey." Holtgen also said the chairmanship would boost the CoE's international visibility due to Turkey's experienced and outspoken politicians.