State of emergency must be removed immediately, Turkish Bar Association head says
The state of emergency and the decree numbered 696 must be removed immediately as they go against the Turkish Constitution, Turkish Bar Association head Metin Feyzioğlu said on Dec. 27 following an emergency meeting held in Ankara.
“The state of emergency, as it is, is an obstacle in the way of our fight against terrorism because it damages Turkey’s reputation,” Feyzioğlu said.
“This is a situation that terror organizations would benefit from as they can establish the platform to gain foreign support in such an environment,” Feyzioğlu added.
Feyzioğlu also sharply criticized the latest emergency decree numbered 696 published on Dec. 24, saying it gives the government’s authority to civilians.
The decree provides immunity to civilians who fought against last year’s coup attempt and terrorist acts that followed the day, but critics say the decree is vaguely-worded and can be misinterpreted.
Answering critics, the latest decree includes only incidents that happened on the night of the coup attempt and the following morning, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Spokesperson Mahir Ünal said at a press conference on Dec. 25.
However, Feyzioğlu said he believes the regulation puts the country under threat.
“We all know how to read and write. There is no clarification in the decree that says it will cover only the night of the coup,” the bar head stated, adding that that this “irresponsible” regulation would hurt the penalty and compensation processes in the future.
Criticizing the use of emergency decrees in issues not related to the state of emergency, Feyzioğlu said it is forbidden in the constitution. “This also goes against the European Human Rights Treaty,” he said.
“A government that considers itself a ‘government’ can never install such measure,” he added.
Another regulation the new decree brings is a change to outfits worn by convicts. A total of 58,500 prisoners and convicts will wear single-type uniforms during court appearances.
Feyzioğlu said forcing convicts to wear uniforms will give the impression that the suspect is guilty.
“This strictly violates a person’s right for defense,” Feyzioğlu said.
Feyzioğlu then called on the Turkish Parliament to convene and discuss the decree and the state of emergency.
The bar head also called on the Supreme Court to take responsibility in the case.