– Turkey is no longer a country governed by the rule of law
In a new report unveiled today as part of continuing series that focus on human rights violations and arbitrariness in the application of the law in Turkey, Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) concluded that the rule of law as we know no longer exists in Turkey.
The comprehensive report titled “Turkey’s descent into arbitrariness: The end of rule of law” provides detailed information on how the rule of law has lost meaning in Turkish context, confirming the effective collapse of all domestic judicial and administrative remedies available for Turkish citizens who lodge complaints on rights violations.
It lists many recent cases showing the ways in which Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his associates in the government manipulates judiciary through loyalists and partisans. An unprecedented intimidation campaign against independent judges and prosecutors including unlawful arrests and arbitrary assets seizures was pursued by political authorities.
“Turkey is no longer a country that is ruled by the law in the sense of a true democracy, but rather governed at the whims and emotions of one man and his thugs,” Abdullah Bozkurt, the president of the SCF, has said.
“Erdoğan weaponized the blatant abuse of criminal justice system to persecute his critics and opponents, staffed all key positions with partisans,” he added.
The report shows Turkey is in breach of the compliance with its international obligations under existing treaties, highlighting recent cases how stick and carrot approach paralyzed independent judiciary.
In addition to jailing thousands of judges and prosecutors, Turkey has also imprisoned hundreds of human rights defenders and lawyers, making extremely difficult for detainees to access to a lawyer in violation of a due process and fair trial protections under the Turkish Code on Criminal Procedures.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) remains the last beacon of hope for millions of Turks who feel their fundamental rights were violated. SCF urges the Strasbourg court to take up cases on an emergency procedures and pilot judgement framework to issue landmark rulings to set the bar on protecting human rights in Turkey.
As the rule of law is longer applicable in Turkey, the requirement of the court for the complainants to exhaust domestic remedies before filing a case with the ECtHR has become an additional burden on victims. Turkey is going through an extraordinary period, must be declared as a special case and be dealt with an urgent manner.