Turkey’s OHAL Commission could not be remedy for victims of gov’t decrees under emergency rule

Turkey’s State of Emergency (OHAL) Procedures Investigation Commission, which was allegedly established on January 2017 to correct the mistakes done during massive purges by government decrees under the  state of emergency (OHAL) declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 has been unable to give results.

It was reported by online news outlet TR724 on Friday that the OHAL Commission, which started to receive its first applications in July 2017,  has given decision to only 300 out of 103,276 applications and the most of the allegedly assessed applications were rejected. It turns out that there have been very few Commission decisions of giving the victims back to their duties.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has rejected the appeals of numbers of people, who were dismissed by Turkish government decrees from their public posts, using the presenece of OHAL commission as pretext and saying that ‘Please exhaust the domestic remedies then come to us.’

More than 103,000 people have applied to the OHAL Commission and t he commission, which started to assess the applications on May 22, 2017, has decided so far on 300 files and sent them to the relevant institutions. Most of the decisions made by the Commission are refusal of return requests. It was reported that there are only few decisions favourable to victims and assure their return to the profession.

Turkish government has dismissed 114,961 people by government decrees (KHK) from their duties since the coup bid in 2016. Turkish Justice Ministry has established the Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission (OHAL Commission) on January 23, 2017 with the Decree Law No. 685. The Commission, which aimed at reducing the applications to the ECtHR, began its duty on May 22, 2017 to handle the appeals made by those who were dismissed from their jobs, students whose scholarships were eliminated, retired security personnel taken their rank, and institutions that were closed. A total of 190 personnel, 28 judges, 30 inspectors and 40 experts are working for the commission.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Onursal Adıgüzel has submitted a motion of parliamentary inquiries regarding the OHAL Commission by stating that “No official statement was made about the decisions made by the OHAL Commission so far, even though 11 months have been passed since the establishment of the Commission.” Tanrıkulu also demanded to be informed about those returned to their professions. Both motions were asked to be replied by the Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.

Onursal Adıgüzel has asked to the Prime Minister Yıldırım to answer the following questions: How many decisions have been settled in the Commission up until now? How many of these have been notified to the relevant authorities? Is there a prescribed date for the entire applications that the Commission to settle? Will decisions be shared with the public? In case of non-sharing, how will the transparency of the commission be crosschecked?

Tanrıkulu has also asked the following questions to Yıldırım: How many people, institutions and organizations closed by the KHKs applied to the Commission? How many of the applicants were eligible for return to their jobs and how many applications were rejected by the Commission? Which of the closed institutions and organisations were decided by the Commission to operate again, which ones have got negative answers among the applications?

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

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 Interior Minister had announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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