The state of emergency state
We do not know how long the state of emergency will last for, but the four statutory decrees introduced recently show that the government wants to exert some moderation.
The new decrees have reduced the 30-day detention period, which has caused major unjustified sufferings, to seven days, it has also lifted a ban that ruled that prisoners could not see their lawyers under detention, and has formed a “State of Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission.”
Apparently, the government, this way, wanted to prevent the Parliamentarian Assembly of the Council of Europe from adopting a decision of imposing sanctions because of severe state of emergency practices.
No matter what, moderation is positive. However, extending the state of emergency by softening it, and especially holding a referendum under a state of emergency would be very wrong.
The concepts of “terror act, terror organization, terror propaganda, aiding and abetting” in Turkey’s laws were interpreted “exceptionally” broadly by the judiciary during the state of emergency period; there was a rush in detentions and arrests.
Journalists who have not done anything but have only written news stories and opinion pieces have been arrested, their assets have been seized even though their incomes are certain and transparent. The government has done “extraordinary” practices by surpassing law such as banning the spouses of arrested journalists from travelling abroad.
Now, there is a need for moderation. These decrees show concerns over security are decreasing.
I hope this situation positively affects the “psychology of the judiciary” so that the legal system returns to the ordinary interpretations of the law.
Forming a commission that would investigate state of emergency practices demonstrates that the government is accepting that significant victimizations have occurred during this timeframe. The seven-member commission will be made up of five members appointed by the government and two members appointed by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).
In November 2016, the number of civil servants suspended from their positions was over 76,000. How many files should these seven people review a day so that they are able to overcome this workload? Besides, the same commission will also review students expelled from schools and retired personnel whose titles were ripped off as well as applications from associations and foundations.
According to the new decrees, after it is formed, the commission will work for two years; if there is a need, its term will be extended one year at a time.
This is a very long time for those whose rights have to be returned.
Instead of such a long path through a commission, why is a direct path for legal proceedings not opened? If that was done, then files would have gone to several administrative courts and would speed up the procedures.
The commission will recover certain oppressions but it will also cause certain victimizations to be postponed longer before they can be taken to court.
The Constitutional Court, probably, will reject the 40,000 applications that have been filed on grounds that a “commission” has been formed, and I guess this is the aim of this.
The fight against terror and secret structures that have infiltrated the state is the duty of the state. And another duty of the state is to enforce law and justice.
The criterion of this is universal law. As Yusuf Şevki Hakyemez, a professor and member of the Constitutional Court has written, “Only the universal law can be unifying.”
Now, since there is a need for moderation, the right act would be to lift the state of emergency.
The state started its fight against terror on July 25, 2015 when it carried out an effective battle against terror for exactly one year without complaining about any lack of powers; it dismantled trenches and barricades.
The state of emergency, on the other hand, was declared after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The state of emergency was even used to intervene in university rector selections.
But most importantly, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım had told daily Hürriyet writer Fatih Çekirge, “We will not allow anyone to be able to say that the referendum was held under state of emergency circumstances.”
This is very correct. A referendum process held under state of emergency circumstances will shift tensions over to tomorrow’s Turkey. This has to be thought over and avoided.