Euro court turns down Turkish teacher’s application after dismissal
STRASBOURGThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has unanimously turned down an application by a Turkish teacher who was dismissed by a government decree, saying he had not yet exhausted the domestic legal recourses available to him.
Akif Zihni was among the thousands of teachers dismissed with a decree issued during the state of emergency after Turkey’s July 15 coup attempt, after which he applied to the ECHR.
Zihni was suspended and then dismissed from his duties as deputy headmaster of the Anatolia Gazi High School in Ortahisar, in the Black Sea province of Trabzon. He applied to the ECHR on Sept. 26, complaining that he had no access to a court during the state of emergency in order to assert his rights over the dismissal decision.
He also complained of a violation of his right to the presumption of innocence, saying he had been dismissed for allegedly being affiliated to terrorist organizations or groups that the National Security Council found to be engaged in activities harmful to national security, without any criminal proceedings.
In its rejection of Zihni’s application, the ECHR noted that he had lodged his application without having first brought proceedings to national courts in Turkey. It noted that members of the public could lodge an individual appeal at the Turkish Constitutional Court against specific decisions, and the Constitutional Court had indeed received thousands of individual appeals against state of emergency decree measures so far.
In addition, the ECHR also stated that the fact that Zihni was doubtful about the impartiality of Constitutional Court’s judges did not relieve him of the obligation to lodge an application before that court before resorting to the ECHR.