Turkey’s Constitutional Court rules peaceful protest ban under emergency rule unlawful

Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that banning peaceful meetings and demonstrations over arbitrary reasons under the country’s two-year long emergency rule was unlawful, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet reported on Saturday.

Erdal Karadaş and his wife from the western province of Aydın were among thousands of teachers sacked from their jobs via government decrees during a two-year emergency rule declared after a coup attempt in 2016.

Karadaş, who is a member of a left-wing trade union, joined protests in Aydın by distributing fliers and promoting petitions. A Turkish court gave Karadaş an administrative fine for taking part in protests.

Karadaş first appealed the fine in a regional court but his appeal was declined. He later filed a complaint to the Constitutional Court.

Turkey’s top court rule that the administrative fine violated Karadaş’s freedom of assembly, saying that it was natural for people who had lost their jobs under emergency rule to voice their objections.

Several groups across Turkey have held protests to raise awareness against dismissals and faced administrative fines as well as police violence in some cases.

Ankara’s Yüksel avenue became a symbol for such protests. Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, two purged Turkish educators, began a partial hunger strike there in 2017, which lasted 324 days.

Cumhuriyet said the Constitutional Court’s decision would serve as a precedent for other appeals and bans.