Turkey complaints pile up at European rights court
STRASBOURG - Agence France-PresseThe European Court of Human Rights has received a “substantial” number of complaints from Turkish nationals targeted in Ankara’s post-coup attempt crackdown over the past fortnight, a spokesman said Nov. 7.
“We have had 850 new petitions of late, of which 450 were filed in the past week,” said spokesman Patrick Titiun.
Receiving such a large number in such a short space of time is “rare,” he said, while stressing that it was not immediately clear “what proportion [of them] would be ultimately considered as admissible.”
Before the influx, the court was already handling 7,750 cases involving Turkey.
Earlier on Nov. 7, Council of Europe chief Thorbjorn Jagland expressed concern over the huge increase in petitions from Turkey.
“Even in a state of emergency, all Turkish nationals have the right to petition the court,” he said at a press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. “That is why we are discussing ways in which Turkey can deal with all these problems in order to avoid thousands of requests coming to the court.”
In early October, the council’s human rights commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, urged Ankara to act “as soon as possible” to end the state of emergency put in place in the wake of the failed July 15 coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. Last week, he slammed as “deplorable” Turkey’s arrest of 13 staff from the Cumhuriyet newspaper, including Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu.
Since July 15, Turkish authorities have carried out a crackdown, arresting some 35,000 people, according to Justice Ministry figures released at the end of October. Ankara has also fired tens of thousands from the civil service, the judiciary, the media, education and the military.
Late last week, the authorities found a new focus, arresting 10 MPs from the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including its two co-leaders. Western countries have reacted strongly, saying President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appeared to be using the state of emergency declared after the coup bid as “a tool to increasingly clamp down on criticism.”
The ECHR, whose judges come from each of the 47 members of the Council of Europe, was established by the 1953 European Convention on Human Rights.