Thousands of police officers not allowed back to active duty despite appeals commission decision

A total of 3,000 police officers who were dismissed by emergency decrees in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt have not been allowed to return to active duty despite being reinstated by an appeals commission, Bold Medya reported.

According to Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu,  the State of Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission (OHAL Commission) reinstated thousands of police officers; however, the Interior Ministry has not allowed them back to active duty.

“The ministry does not have the authority to prevent officers from resuming active duty after the commission has reinstated them,” Gergerlioğlu said. “This is more proof that there is no justice or rule of law in this country.”

Following the abortive putsch on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces, were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

The OHAL Commission was set up as an appeals body under pressure from the Council of Europe in order to relieve the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) of a huge workload emanating from tens of thousands of Turkish applicants who couldn’t take their cases to Turkish courts. According to critics, the commission’s role is simply to delay or prevent possible ECtHR decisions against Turkey. The commission is also accused of bias as it is led by former Justice Ministry deputy undersecretary Selahaddin Menteş, who had been openly supportive of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

As of October 28, 2021 the commission had made decisions on 118,415 of a total of 126,758 applications. It ruled in favor of the applicants in only 15,050 of the cases.

In its Turkey 2020 report, the European Commission raised serious concerns about the ability of the OHAL Commission to provide an effective remedy against dismissals. The report criticized the lengthy review procedures and underlined that the applicants did not have a proper means of defense as the commission does not hold hearings. The European Commission also said the OHAL Commission did not have sufficiently individualized criteria to evaluate the applications.

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