The Turkish parliament has formally approved a three month state of emergency after a failed coup last Friday. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promises its needed to protect Turkey’s democracy:
“The aim is to rapidly and effectively take all steps needed to eliminate the threat against democracy, the rule of law and the people’s rights and freedoms,” Mr. Erdogan said.
“This measure is in no way against democracy, the law and freedoms,” he added. “On the contrary, it aims to protect and strengthen them.”
Turkish Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told the media the country “will suspend the European convention on human rights insofar as it does not conflict with its international obligations.”
Yeah, the international community does not believe the Turkish government. Since Friday, Erdoğan has purged almost 53,000 people allegedly connected to the failed coup, which he blames on the Gülen Movement:
- 15,200 teachers, canceled 21,000 licences
- 1,557 deans asked to resign
- 100 at the National Intelligence Organization (MİT)
- 257 at the Prime Ministry
- 35,000 soldiers, police, judges, and civil servants
- 492 from the Religious Affairs Directorate
- 393 from Family and Social Policies Ministry
- 16 from Development Ministry
- 1,500 at the Finance Ministry
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ justified the move because the country lacks the resources to weed out those responsible:
“This decision was taken in order to remove the threat of the Fethullahist terror organization, which spread across the state like a cancer cell, and its offshoots in the TSK, judiciary, police, our universities and the rest of our public institutions,” Bozdağ stated.
Erdoğan told his European and NATO allies they “do not have the right to criticize this decision.” He said other countries, mainly France, have passed state of emergencies under Article 15. He failed to mention that none of them purged people and violated their basic human rights:
Article 15 and other international rights treaties allow governments to restrict certain rights, including freedom of movement, expression and association during states of emergency. However, the article stipulates that measures must be strictly proportionate and not discriminate against people based on ethnicity, religion or social group.
The emergency provisions under Article 15 cannot, however, be used retrospectively to justify any action before the declaration was made. Nor do the emergency provisions allow for the right to a fair trial to be suspended or the prohibition on torture to be lifted.
A spokesman for the Council of Europe told the Guardian: “What’s important is that Turkey has to keep the secretary general of the council informed of developments during the state of emergency. Strictly speaking, they have to inform us what parts of the convention will be affected.”
The State of Emergency Act allows the government to punish journalists and analysts who report “exaggerated” news.
Article 25 of State of Emergency Act spells doom for Turkish journalists and analysts – punishes "exaggerated" news. pic.twitter.com/vyY9mE1TtJ
— Alev Scott (@AlevScott) July 21, 2016
The Council of Europe said the government told them they intended to declare “a state of emergency under article 15 of the treaty.”
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