22/05/2015 Standing Committee
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has voted to increase the number of seats allocated to Turkey from 12 to 18 to reflect its increased population.
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.
Since 1949, the allocation of seats in the Assembly – which brings together 318 parliamentarians from the 47 nations of the Council of Europe – has been based solely on the criterion of population size.
With 18 members, the Turkish delegation to the Assembly would become the same size as those of France, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom, joining them as the equal largest delegation in the Assembly. The smallest delegations consist of only two members.
For the change to come into effect, both statutory organs of the Council of Europe must give their approval. The Assembly said it hoped the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe’s ministerial body, would be able to finalise its approval process – which involves altering the Statute, the Council of Europe’s founding text – in time for the opening of the Assembly’s third part-session.
The Standing Committee also voiced its support for the introduction of Turkish as a working language in the Assembly – alongside German, Italian, Russian, and the two official languages of English and French – but said this would be dependent on it receiving additional funds in its budget to cover the extra cost.
Turkey has been a full member of the Council of Europe, regarded as the continent’s human rights watchdog, since 1949.