OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

09/14/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/14/2017 04:08

OSCE PA human rights leader: Turkish appeals commission must be transparent to restore faith in rule of law

COPENHAGEN, 14 September 2017 - The Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's human rights committee, Spanish parliamentarian Ignacio Sanchez Amor, today reiterated calls for clear, effective and transparent legal procedures in Turkey including for those dismissed or imprisoned following last year's failed coup d'├ętat. Today marks the last day on which people can appeal against their dismissal to a special government commission charged with their review.

Sanchez Amor has participated in several high-level OSCE visits to Turkey since July last year related to the situation in the country following the coup attempt. OSCE PA leaders have consistently stressed their solidarity with the Turkish people in their fight for the preservation of democratic institutions following the attempted seizure of power.

'Dealing with the very real security challenges that Turkey faces cannot be an excuse for eliminating due process. In the aftermath of last year's failed coup the government assumed extraordinary powers to deal with the emergency. Effective and transparent work by the review commission in the coming months will be critical to restoring a sense of justice for the thousands of people caught up in the procedures enacted under the state of emergency,' said Sanchez Amor.

Since the attempted putsch in July 2016, more than 140,000 officials have been dismissed or suspended from jobs in the civil service, with some 30,000 subsequently reinstated. Since the State of Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission started receiving appeals on 17 July, some 80,000 people have applied for a review of their cases. The application period ends today. The special commission consists of seven members, three of whom were appointed by the prime minister, one by the Justice Ministry, one by the Interior Ministry and two by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors. At least 40,000 people have been arrested in the attempted coup's aftermath.

'I have been deeply concerned with some steps taken by the Turkish government - the widespread dismissals of civil servants gave the impression that presumption of innocence was no longer the law in Turkey. However, this commission has the opportunity to contribute to the restoration of faith in the rule of law. I will be following the process closely, but more importantly, I expect the commission to co-operate actively with Turkish media and civil society so that they can provide oversight of its work,' continued the PA's human rights Chair.

Sanchez Amor also expressed his concern for the well-being of several individuals who are on hunger strikes out of objection of their dismissals. He reiterated his concern at the imprisonment of Turkish Members of Parliament, noting that the threat of terrorism must not be used as a pretext to silence members of the political opposition.

Sanchez Amor was part of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegations in August 2016 and June 2017 in which OSCE PA leaders met with Turkish Government and parliamentary leaders and civil society representatives. The delegations noted the security challenges facing the country, and called for continued attention to democratic institutions.