State of emergency with no checks and balances

State of emergency with no checks and balances

Following a non-inspection decision of the Constitutional Court, the state of emergency has been functioning without “checks and balances.” 

The other day, on Feb. 8, 4,464 people, of whom 330 are academics, were expelled from public work. 

A constitutional law professor, İbrahim Kaboğlu, has been expelled from university too. 

It is impossible to tolerate that a law professor and generally all academics, are expelled from universities without any accusation or indictment, it is only based on the “unchecked” powers that the state of emergency is providing. 

Kaboğlu has always defended Western democracy. During the reform period, he was appointed to head the Human Rights Advisory Board by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

Now, without any criminal charges, he has been expelled from his university with a statutory decree. These are two different practices of the same government. 

Another symbolic incident is the stance of another constitutional law professor, Osman Can. He has protested the expulsion of his colleagues with a tweet he posted. 

While he was a rapporteur at the Constitutional Court, he wrote a law report that declared the AKP cannot be closed down. He was elected deputy in the June 7, 2015 elections, but was not nominated for the Nov. 1, 2015 elections. 

He is a respected law person, the deputy head of one of Europe’s highest law institutions, the Venice Commission, and an advisory member of the Council of Europe.

In a tweet, Can said that “restricting the zone of freedom would deepen problems.” 

Yes, we should refrain from restricting freedoms and transferring these issues to the future. 

In European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) practices, like the Handyside case in 1976 ruled that ”It is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favorably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population. Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no ‘democratic society.’ This means, amongst other things, that every ‘formality, condition, restriction or penalty’ imposed in this sphere must be proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.”

Whereas, in our country, several journalists have lost their jobs just because of stories or columns that they have written, there are several academics and bureaucrats who have done nothing but write. 

It was June 2000 when then-new president Ahmet Necdet Sezer was submitted a statutory decree. Several judges, prosecutors, academics and other public employees were to be expelled based on the reports of two inspectors. Military authorities behind the Feb. 28 movement were pressing. 

However, Sezer rejected to sign this decree on the grounds that it was against the constitution. 

Today, the “mass discharges” are conducted through the state of emergency. Yes, it is a necessity that illegal organizations and groupings should be cleansed from the state, but this has to be based on evidence and open to judicial remedies. 

Under state of emergency circumstances, evidences are not sought and judicial remedies are closed. The Constitutional Court has changed its previous practices; it has approved this legal non-inspection.  

Well, could Kaboğlu and the like be a member of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) or any other illegal organization? If they were, there would have been criminal investigations opened anyway.

In a legal order, it cannot be considered a crime that stories and thoughts are printed in newspapers or as declarations; it cannot constitute a reason for expulsion from university. However, journalists have been in jails for months, their indictments have not been written, they have not appeared in court. 

Turkey should absolutely be strong. The way to it is not more arrests and more expulsions, but it is more law. This would also facilitate the extradition of criminals.