Jan 27 2018

Cases of Turkey’s post-coup victims pile up before top courts

The number of cases from Turkey pending at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decreased this year, but critics warn that the figures do not indicate a progress in Turkey’s human rights record.

Turkish citizens filed more than 90,200 violations to ECHR but the court found some 30,063 of them inadmissible in 2017, Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet reported.

According to ECHR rules, the case files need to exhaust all domestic legal objections before being submitted to the court.

After an amendment in 2013 allowed Turkey’s Constitutional Court to hear individual applications, the number of ECHR applications from Turkey has dropped.

Following the purge of more than 140,000 public sector employees in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt, the Turkish applications to ECHR saw a sudden increase.

Turkey mitigated the situation by setting up an appeal commission to review the cases of employees dismissed by the government decrees.

The commission is not transparent in its decision making, and does not provide detailed rulings, Kerem Altıparmak a professor of human rights law in Ankara University said.

The human rights violations complaints pending at Turkey’s top court also reached 67,434, former judge and Ahval columnist Ümit Kardaş said. More than 40,000 of these cases were submitted after Turkish government declared emergency rule in July 2016.

In one recent case, where the Constitutional Court ordered release of two journalists for right violations, a Turkish local court rejected top court’s ruling.

Since the Constitutional Court’s order is not implemented, Turkey loses its argument that it is an effective legal route, Altıparmak said.