Tatiana Moskalkova met with Seref Malcoc

05 July 2017

On 5 July, High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation Tatiana Moskalkova met with the Chief Ombudsman of the Republic of Turkey Seref Malcoc. The event was also attended by representatives of the Turkish delegation, the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and employees of the High Commissioner’s Office.

In her welcoming speech, Tatiana Moskalkova noted the significant role of the High Commissioner Institute in the lives of Russian citizens. In particular, the federal Ombudsman reported that, thanks to the intervention of the High Commissioner, the state provided additional support measures to foreign currency mortgage borrowers.

During the presentation of the annual High Commissioner Report to the President, Tatiana Moskalkova could not stay away from this problem. "People are being deprived of their apartments because they can not repay the debt taken at the old rate. I would ask you to revert to this matter and consider my appeal for an extension of the program to recover this debt." The President agreed and gave corresponding instructions. Today, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an order to allocate 2 billion rubles for the continuation of the program of assistance to mortgage borrowers," the High Commissioner said.

Discussing the issues of bilateral cooperation, Tatiana Moskalkova stressed that the number of Turkish citizens coming to Russia is approaching the level of 2015 due to the restoration of the political dialogue.

"In 2016, the number of Turkish citizens coming to Russia decreased by 70 percent. In 2015, 210 thousand people entered the country, compared to 61 thousand in 2016. And only in 2017, thanks to the political vector change, the actions of the presidents of the Russian Federation, Turkey and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, things have changed," the High Commissioner said.

In the framework of the Russian-Turkish Memorandum of Cooperation aimed at the protection of citizens’ rights, Tatiana Moskalkova asked Seref Malcoc to facilitate the simplification of the procedure for the exemption of Christian children of mixed marriages living in Turkey from the compulsory Islamic education.

"Children’s education is an important issue. In schools, Islam is taught as an obligatory subject, but there are exceptions for other religions, particularly for Christianity. Children are exempted from this subject in case they provide a child’s baptism certificate," the federal Ombudsman stated.

"We would ask you to apply to the Ministry of Education, so that the confirmation or petition of the two parents would be sufficient to confirm the baptism, if it is not possible to provide other documents," Tatiana Moskalkova added.

The High Commissioner also asked the Chief Turkish Ombudsman to assist in solving the difficult life situation of Zarina A.

Russian citizen Zarina A. married a Turkish citizen Aidemir A. in 2004. Two daughters were born in the marriage. In connection with the family conflict, in April 2011, the husband took the elder daughter from Zarina. For several years, trials have been continuing in the courts of Turkey, and Russian consular offices have been providing the applicant with all kinds of assistance within the framework of their powers.

An important topic of the discussion was the Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. "The Russian Federation has ratified this international document, but it is necessary that the Turkish Republic sends a special notification to the Netherlands," the High Commissioner said.

In turn, Seref Malcoc assured the audience that on 1 August the issue will be resolved positively. The Chief Turkish Ombudsman also thanked the High Commissioner for the warm welcome and offered to take part in a number of events and programs aimed at sharing experience between Russia and Turkey.

In conclusion, the parties discussed the current problems of international politics and responded to journalists' questions.

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