Turkish ombudsman complains of insufficient authority
‘In many countries in Europe, [the Ombudspersons] are able to take a law to an administrative court. We don’t have such authority,’ Ömeroğlu says.Turkey’s Chief Ombudsman Mehmet Nihat Ömeroğlu has expressed dissatisfaction over their institution’s situation, underlining that they have not been able to handle many issues due to their limited authorities, which is not the case with Ombudsman institutions in European countries.
Recalling that their institution had become the target for harsh criticism because they drafted delayed reports on the May Day protests and the Gezi Park unrest, the country’s first ever ombudsman, Ömeroğlu, said yesterday that they did not have the authority to draft special reports.
Reports on the Gezi Park unrest were even drafted in Europe, Ömeroğlu said, speaking at a press conference held at Parliament on the occasion of the first anniversary of the delivery of applications to the Ombudsman’s office.
“Since our authority is limited, our proposals are not taken into consideration either,” he said at the conference where he presented the Activity Report for 2013.
“Our authority is limited. For example, in many countries in Europe, they [the Ombudspersons] are able to take a law to an administrative court and to high court. However, we don’t have such authority,” Ömeroğlu said, while also noting such authority was among demands that will be listed in a legal arrangement, which their institution has been drafting.
The Activity Report for the Year 2013 mainly highlighted the institution’s authority and responsibilities.
“The institution is tasked with examining and investigating the administration’s actions and operations, along with its manners and behavior in line with the understanding of justice based on human rights and in regards to compliance with the law and fairness upon a complaint about the functioning of the administration,” said the report.
“However, operations the president conducts on his own, decisions and orders he signs in his own motion; operations about the use of legislative authority; decisions about the use of judicial authority and the TSK’s [Turkish Armed Forces] exclusively militaristic activities are out of this scope of duty.
Complaints which do not include a specific issue are also out of the institution’s scope of examination,” read the report.
According to the report, the majority of complaints are about the public personnel system and education, with the Education Ministry and Labor and Social Security Ministry being mostly subject to complaint. The highest number of applications is from the Marmara and Central Anatolia regions and the least number of applications is from Eastern Anatolia and Southeastern Anatolia. Meanwhile, among provinces, most complaints come from Istanbul.
Turkey’s first ever chief ombudsman began actively working in his post in late March 2013 after taking his oath in December 2012.
“Administration under the spotlight” is how Ömeroğlu described the function of the Office of the Ombudsman at the time.