He is not the only one. Criticising the Turkish government’s decision to prolong the state of emergency for a further 90-day period, the leader of the main opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu fears a counter-coup.
The AKP government shows no sign of heeding the calls by Turkey’s opposition to curb excesses of the state of emergency. Similar warnings from international bodies also seem to fall on deaf ears.
The decrees adopted in Turkey since the failed July 15th coup allow the government to rule without parliamentary scrutiny and enable the judiciary to bypass general principles of rule of law.
The vast number of persons detained, arrested and dismissed and the assets seized, without legal remedies available to people affected by the emergency measures, is becoming a potential nightmare for the European rights watchdogs.
The European Court of Human Rights, whose rulings are legally binding for Turkey, is bracing itself for a huge number of applications from Turkey.
Turkey, along with Russia, is already one of the top countries most frequently found in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Arbitrary measures taken by the Turkish authorities in recent months will mean many more cases will end up in court in Strasbourg.
When I visited Strasbourg on 6th October with AEJ Vice President William Horsley and seven other European journalistic and press freedom organizations to discuss the situation for independent journalism in Turkey, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, was very clear about his concerns.
He, too, expected many more cases reaching the European Court of Human Rights challenging Turkey, including by journalists arrested under the emergency powers.
Mr. Jagland has listed journalists among those most harmed in the post-coup Turkey and talked about the Council of Europe’s efforts to assist Turkey to legitimately investigate the crimes committed during the failed coup while respecting accepted judicial and democratic norms.
In our discussions in Strasbourg, the focus of attention was the plight of more than one hundred journalists held in Turkey’s jails without due process of law; but there was also much emphasis on upholding human rights, on individual, not collective criminal responsibility, and presumption of innocence for everybody facing criminal or administrative proceedings.
The Council of Europe officials were firm in their criticism, although measured and diplomatic in their approach to Turkey, commending the Turkish authorities for keeping the channels of communication open.
Soon after leaving Strasbourg, I came across a statement by Turkey’s Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim. Criticising CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroglu for focusing on the sufferings of people accused, Prime Minister was quoted as asking “What is more important? The suffering of people or the suffering of coup plotters?”
The channels of communication may be open, but clearly, something crucial is lost in translation.
Turkey and Europe’s right watchdogs do not seem to be talking the same language when discussing universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
This post is also available in: Turkish