Turkey's foreign minister said on Monday that financial crisis and unemployment raised discrimination and xenophobia in Europe.
Ahmet Davutoglu spoke at the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) as the head of the rotating presidency of the Council of Europe (COE) Committee of Ministers, and briefed PACE members on prior policies of Turkey as the president of the committee.
Davutoglu said the COE should strengthen its control mechanisms regarding combatting xenophobia and racism, torture and mal-treatment.
Turkey attached importance to eliminating problems of multi-cultural societies in Europe, and wished the COE to assume a more efficient role.
"Turkey also wishes the COE to assume a stronger role and influence in the international arena against new threats," Davutoglu said.
Davutoglu said Europe had suffered much from intolerance in the past, and everybody should fulfil his/her responsibilities in order not to prevent recurrence of sorrowful past
experiences, to enable co-existence in tolerance and a multi-cultural society.
In this context, the committee of eminent persons gathered in Istanbul within the framework of Turkey's initiatives, Davutoglu said.
The minister said Turkey had attached great importance to views and solution proposals of the committee.
"Turkey attributes importance to reform initiatives of the COE and European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) during its rotating presidency, and supports such endeavors," Davutoglu said.
Davutoglu underlined importance of reducing the burden of the ECHR, and EU's being a party to the European Convention on Human Rights was an issue Turkey attached importance to.
In response to a question by an Armenian member of the PACE, Davutoglu said that Turkey viewed Armenia as a potential friend and not as a threat or an enemy.
Turkey pays high attention to the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia and the stability in southern Caucasus, Davutoglu said.
Armenia occupies 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan, a country that is also a member of the Council of Europe. Such an occupation is against the principles of the
Council of Europe, Davutoglu underlined.
The solution of the problem between Armenia and Azerbaijan will make important contribution to the peace and stability of the region, Davutoglu also said.
The minister also said Turkey also attributed importance to strengthening of democracy in its neighboring countries, and therefore supported Iraq, Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan.
Turkey has taken over the rotating presidency of the COE Council of Minister on November 10, 2010, and will chair the committee till May 2011.