After the state of emergency

After the state of emergency

The state of emergency was finally lifted. Of course this is a pleasing move, however, some of the practices under the state of emergency that caused widespread unfair treatments are now set to continue under regular laws.

At the time of writing, parliament’s Justice Commission session was underway. As it is the common practice in Turkey, the documents sent from “above” are approved right away or with minor cosmetics in commissions and in the general assembly of parliament.

That is why I will deliberate on the document submitted to the commission.

Three-year period

In the document, there are provisions regarding the protection of personal information and security of members of the military and police force and of facilities belonging to the military and police force. In principle I find those provisions right.

The particular provision, which I think is unconstitutional, is that dismissals from public institutions, the judiciary, and universities will continue for a “period of three years.”

The same practices under the emergency rule, which allowed dismissals without seeking a court decision and even “evidence,” will continue and people could be sacked.

According to the constitution, the exercise of fundamental rights and freedom may be suspended only “in times of war, mobilization, martial law, or a state of emergency.”

It is unconstitutional to exercise the powers of the state of emergency for another three years at a time when the emergency rule is abolished judicially.

It is unconstitutional to extend the detention period and to dismiss bureaucrats, judges and academics.

Seizing the passports of spouses and children, or monitoring their communications with a judge’s order for a period of three years is against “the principle of individual criminal responsibility.”

Compensation ban

The new rules also regulate the status of those who had been previously dismissed but reinstated to their jobs. They will return to their previous positions with their benefits remaining intact. These are good news but there is a provision stipulating that those cannot claim “compensation.”

You suffer for months, labelled as terrorist in the eyes of the public and now you only get your salary and shut up!
However, according to the Constitutional Court, those who suffered because of a state action cannot be denied their right to file lawsuits against the state for compensation. The right to demand compensation is an integral part of the right to legal remedies.

Apart from this, there are specifically designed restrictions imposed on academics. Academics, who have been dismissed, cannot return to their previous universities but seek job at another university. Why this restriction?

Law and normalization

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced two months ago in its election declaration that the state of emergency will be lifted. The economy necessitates the lifting of the emergency rule which will signal that the normalization process has begun.

That is correct, but the judicially flawed regulations cannot possibly serve this purpose.

When the state of emergency was not in place, Turkey destroyed barricades erected by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) by imposing curfews. Not a single state official, at that time, complained about the lack of authorization.

Fighting against terrorism is a matter of resolve and it still exists.

If the new regulations are aligned with law, the state will not weaken. On the contrary, a strengthened law will only empower the normalization.

Taha Akyol,