Secretary General Klaus Heeger on the Turkey Report 2016

While according to different media sources over a hundred thousand public sector employees have, as a reaction to the July coup attempt, meanwhile been suspended, dismissed, arrested and detained, the European Commission published its latest Turkey Report as part of the 2016 enlargement package. The report denounces “arbitrary applications of the law in Turkey” during the last year and confirms that the sectors and professions particularly hit are the judiciary, police, military, civil service, local authorities, teachers and lawyers.

Secretary General Klaus Heeger on the Turkey Report 2016

According to the report, the recent coup “represented a direct attack on democracy in Turkey”, but there has been a “serious backsliding in the past year in the area of freedom of expression”, with “selective and arbitrary application of the law.” Overall, the report notes, post-coup decrees issued by the Erdogan government “produce effects beyond the state of emergency” which “raises questions as to the proportionality of the measures taken.” Most importantly, the report finds that measures also affect key rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), in particular the right to a fair trial.

Klaus Heeger, CESI Secretary General expressed his deep worries about the current situation in Turkey: “CESI and its member organisations avow themselves to the principles of democracy and the rule of such laws designed to protect fundamental rights, especially those established by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are therefore strongly calling upon all relevant actors to do what is in their power to make sure that those persons who, as a consequence of the coup, may have been suspended, dismissed or even arrested, are unconditionally guaranteed the fundamental rights to a fair trial by independent and impartial tribunals and the presumption of ‘innocence until proven guilty’. Arbitrary persecutions and arrests remain incompatible with fundamental rights and the rule of law.”

The full Turkey Report can be accessed here.

Picture: Secretary General Klaus Heeger © CESI 2016