MESOP EUROPE : Council of Europe Tells Turkey to End State of Emergency

By Ava Homa – 2016-10-09 – Kurdistan 24net – The Council of Europe (CoE) called on Turkey on Friday to end its state of emergency and stop issuing government decrees that have led to wide-ranging human rights abuses.A ten-page memorandum written by the CoE’s Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks stated that government decrees adopted in Turkey since July created “very far-reaching, almost unlimited discretionary powers for administrative authorities and the executive in many areas.”

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since the failed July 15 military coup attempt as the Government has empowered the police, governors, and judiciary. The extraordinary measures have allowed Turkish authorities to purge government employees en masse, sack elected officials, arrest individuals with no charges, ban the right to assembly and protest, seize private property, and shut down unions and media outlets.

Muiznieks visited Turkey in late September and met with Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag alongside other officials, including pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party Co-chair Figen Yuksekdag. Turkey is a member of the 47-nation CoE that focuses on promoting human rights and the rule of law since 1949. The CoE’s Muiznieks stressed that “far-reaching, discretionary powers exercised by the Turkish government engendered a certain degree of arbitrariness and erode the rule of law,” stating that protection of human rights became impossible in the country.

Muizniek expressed concern at the government seizure of Kurdish held municipalities, calling the move “a collective sanction” against local populations and democracy.According to Muizniek almost 32,000 persons were in detention, one thousand and a half were in police custody, with several thousand others having ongoing criminal proceedings in the post-July 15 Turkey. Figures for the number of civil servants suspended or dismissed in the last two and a half months ranged from 70,000 to 110,000, said Muizniek.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court received more 20 thousand complaints as the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) expected “a huge number of applications,” if rights abuses continued, warned the commissioner. The report noted the allegations of torture in detention by police and urged the Turkish Government to publish a forthcoming report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) whose delegation was in Turkey at the beginning of September. The CoE said it intended to issue a second memorandum on Turkey’s human rights abuses in the Kurdish region where government troops and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters have been fighting since mid-2015.