European lawmakers ask legal opinion on Turkey’s dismissed public workers

Twenty-eight members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have urged the Council of Europe (CoE) to request from the Venice Commission a legal opinion regarding the situation of former public workers in Turkey who were dismissed from their jobs after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

The Venice Commission within the CoE is composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law, and oversees compliance by member states’ laws and constitutions with the European Convention on Human Rights and standards of the council.

The lawmakers expressed their concerns that the situation of the dismissed public servants have been worsening, Euronews said

More than 130,000 public servants in Turkey were summarily dismissed by government decree during two years of emergency rule declared following the failed putsch. The Turkish government later established an inquiry commission to examine the appeals of public workers dismissed over terror links. 

The PACE should call on the Venice Commission to submit a new opinion on the inquiry commission’s efforts and the dismissed public servant’s opportunities to pursue their legal rights, the 28 lawmakers said.

In a previous opinion in 2017, the Venice Commission said measures taken by the Turkish government under the emergency rule had violated constitutional rules and international norms. 

Opinions expressed by the Venice Commission are used as important criteria for the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Meanwhile, a Turkish court granted full compensation for a public school teacher, who, after being reinstated by the State of Emergency Commission, sued the state asking compensation for her financial losses after being dismissed under the emergency rule.

The court ruled that the state should compensate the teacher by paying the teacher’s base salary for three years and the overtime.

The court cited the Turkish constitution’s article 125, which states that the administration is responsible to compensate damages that came to pass due to its own actions and procedures.

The court’s ruling could set a precedent for other cases, Nedim Değirmenci, a lawyer from the educators’ union Eğitim Sen, told Duvar.