ECHR vice president welcomes new state of emergency commission in Turkey

ECHR vice president welcomes new state of emergency commission in Turkey

ECHR vice president welcomes new state of emergency commission in Turkey European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Vice President Prof Işıl Karakaş has welcomed the establishment of a new seven-membered state of emergency commission in Turkey, which will receive appeals against state of emergency measures. 

“What’s important for us is the opening of a path to appeals under judicial control in domestic law,” Karakaş told daily Hürriyet, adding that they perceived the formation of the commission as a “positive development.” 

“I’m making this assessment as the court’s vice president. As a national judge, I need to draw attention to this fact: The applications to the ECHR from Turkey have risen significantly in the recent period. The number of applications against Turkey was 8,400 in 2015. This number rose to 15,800 in 2016,” she said. 

Saying that the ECHR usually received around 3,000 applications from Turkey each year, Karakaş added that the number significantly rose after the July 2016 failed coup attempt, widely believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

“Now the number of applications is around 16,000. The main principal should be fewer applications and the resolution of these applications inside Turkey. What’s important for us is the application of court practices of the European Convention on Human Rights in its place, meaning inside the country. States should abide by the convention so we receive fewer applications in Strasbourg. The convention should be applied by domestic offices and violations of rights and freedoms should be addressed where they are,” she said. 

“[After the coup attempt] there was no judicial remedy for those who were dismissed with state of emergency decrees. As the ECHR, in the aforementioned decision we issued, we told those who were dismissed to apply to the Constitutional Court. ‘Try that way, exhaust all domestic legal paths and then apply to us,’ we said. After that decision, the number of cases brought to the Constitutional Court rose to 65,000. How the Constitutional Court will handle those cases is another subject,” Karakaş added.

There should be a right to appeal for those who say they are victims and the ECHR encourages these ways of appealing, she stated. 

“The new commission is not a judicial body, but rather an administrative board. The important point here is the availability of going to the path of administrative jurisdiction. That’s what’s important for us. As long as there are applications against the decisions of this commission, this is a suitable way for us,” Karakaş said. 

Stating that it is good for the Constitutional Court to handle cases after the commission, she also stressed that the commission should work as quickly and efficiently as possible.