The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has allowed Turkey to have the same representation as France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and United Kingdom in the Assembly of the Council of Europe joining them as the equal largest delegation in the Assembly.
The seats allocated to Turkey in the assembly will be increased from 12 to 18, according to the assembly’s decision.
The smallest delegations only have two members in the assembly.
“Approving a resolution based on a report by Andreas Gross (Switzerland, SOC), PACE’s Standing Committee said it was ‘entirely justified and fair’ to increase the number of seats, given that Turkey now has the third-largest population in Europe,” according to the PACE’s official website.
The PACE, one of the two statutory organs of the Council of Europe, has committed to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and has overseen the European Court of Human Rights.
The Committee of Ministers is another statutory organ of the Council which must approve the assembly’s decision in order to make the change effective concerning Turkey’s representation in the assembly.
The Standing Committee of the PACE also suggested Turkish might be a working language in the assembly along with German, Italian, Russian, and the two official languages of English and French. However, it said, “This would be dependent on it receiving additional funds in its budget to cover the extra cost,” according to the PACE’s website.
Turkey has recently offered to be one of the main donor countries to the PACE.
The Assembly held its first session in Strasbourg in 1949, and has been regarded “as the continent’s human rights watchdog.” It is also considered as the oldest international parliamentary assembly in the world.