European court rejects 25,000 Turkish applicants since controversial coup attempt

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has allegedly rejected around 25,000 applications from Turkish nationals related to persecutions by Turkish government following a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency (AA).

Basing on information given by a Turkish judicial official, AA reported on Tuesday that ECtHR has declined to hear the cases on the grounds that the applicants had failed to exhaust domestic judicial procedures in Turkey.

Thousands of people have been arrested or dismissed from their jobs over their alleged links to the Gülen movement since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Under Turkey’s state of emergency laws, which have been in place since shortly after the controversial coup attempt, those dismissed from their jobs are entitled to have their cases reviewed by the State of Emergency (OHAL) Commission.

The commission has been widely criticised over its suspicious intention to assure the Turkish government to gain time before the cases submitted to the ECtHR. As it was predicted and feared, according to information given by the official from Turkish judiciary, the ECtHR referred to this procedure in its rejection of cases, the official added.

The commission was established through the Statutory Decree No. 685 dated January 23, 2017 in order to “assess and decide upon applications lodged against actions including expulsion from the profession, dissolution of respective organizations and institutions, termination of one’s studentship and cancelling the ranks of retired personnel which have been taken directly on the basis of the provisions of Decree-laws, in the absence of any other administrative action, on the grounds of attachment to, or affiliation or connection with terrorist organizations.”

The President of the Commission, Selahaddin Menteş, who is a staunch supporter of Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, announced that there were 101,304 applications lodged to the commission as of October 4, 2017. Menteş noted that they had referred the cases to rapporteurs for examination and that the final results would be received by November 2017.

The head of the German Bar Association (DAV), Ulrich Schellenberg, said the rule of law no longer exists in Turkey, warning German lawyers about the possibility of being arrested in the country, Deutsche Welle reported on Friday.

“There is no rule of law in Turkey anymore. There is no presumption of innocence. There is no effective defense. There is no independent judiciary,” Schellenberg told dpa, underlining that lawyers have been detained due to their clients and that people are having difficulties finding attorneys.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.


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