Turkey wants to change troubling rights record
Police spray university students with tear gas in this file photo. AA photoTurkish diplomatic sources said they were trying to decrease the number of applications from Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights as the country ranked at the top among the most frequently sentenced countries list.
“Turkey is trying to decrease the number of cases that are being taken to the European Court of Human Rights [ECHR],” a Turkish Foreign Ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News on Friday. “There are a couple of steps the government agencies have taken to lessen the number of applications. We have to solve cases within the Turkish judicial system, thus [mitigating the need] to apply to the ECHR.”
According to data released Jan. 26, a total of 159 cases filed against Turkey resulted in judgments finding at least one violation of human rights. Russia followed Turkey as the second most-convicted violator, with 121 judgments finding at least one violation, while Ukraine came in third place with 105 convictions.
Around one-third of all unfavorable judgments passed against Turkey had to do with complaints regarding the length of proceedings, according to the ECHR website - a problem that has led to years of imprisonments for many, including dozens of journalists arrested on various charges.
Most of the remaining verdicts pronounced against Turkey by the European court found it guilty of charges pertaining to “inhuman or degrading treatment,” “lack of effective investigation,” “right to liberty and security,” “right to a fair trial,” “non-execution” and “protection of property.”
The Strasbourg-based ECHR also passed 69 verdicts against Greece, which ranked in fourth place, another 58 verdicts against Romania and 54 rulings against Poland. Issues pertaining to the protection of human rights and upholding the rule of law have lost their primacy in the eyes of some member states due to the current economic crisis, said Nicolas Bratza, the head of the European court, during an annual press conference on Jan. 26. “Human rights ought never be regarded as a luxury,” Bratza said.
The European Court of Human Rights recently sentenced Turkey to pay 18,000 euros in compensation for the death of a psychologically troubled man who allegedly committed suicide in 2004 while conducting his military service, according to reports.
The European Court’s decision indicated that the Turkish state bore responsibility for deeming M.M. fit for military service despite his psychological problems, rampant alcholism and drug addiction.