After the sinister coup attempt on 15 July 2016, a 3-month state of emergency was declared all across Turkey as of 20 July 2016. The state of emergency was extended by further three months first in October 2016 and then in January 2017.

Coup plotters killed 246 people including 173 of civilians and injured more than 2 000 people. Due to the crimes they committed, as the Human Rights Association (IHD) we reacted normally to the investigations, prosecutions and trial of the coup plotters within the principles of the human rights law.

The coup attempt was suppressed and all segments of society objected to the coup. There was no need to declare a state of emergency to combat against the coup plotters and the organizations behind it, because each party having a parliamentary group in the Grand Turkish Assembly declared their support for government on this issue. However, the declaration of state of emergency has became a counter-coup practice and the public opposition was completely repressed. In fact, with the decree-laws enacted following the declaration of the state of emergency, applications completely exceeding the issues requiring declaration of the state of emergency have been experienced and still being experienced. These applications exceeding the provisions of the Article 15 of the Constitution, and provisions regarding the decrease of obligations of the Article 15 of the European Convention of Human Rights and the Article 4 of the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have resulted in various violations of human rights and freedom.

In fact, from the first 667 numbered decree-law up to the 678 numbered decree law, the 12 decree-laws contain permanent legal regulations which are not limited to the coup d’état in terms of subject and not limited to the duration of state of emergency in terms of time. With these decree-laws, thousands of people who were unrightfully dismissed from civil service without being given the right of defense and effective jurisdiction were turned into “the civil dead” and subjected to social execution.

By means of legislation and in practice, numerous violations regarding several rights and freedoms have occurred and still being occurred such as the right to live and prohibition of torture, the right to personal freedom and security, right to a fair trial; the freedom of thought, religion, belief, expression, association, travel, assembly; right to work and property, right to education, prohibition of discrimination. Problems related to these issues were pointed out in the reports of the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.

The balance sheet is as follows:

In the aftermath of 15 July 2016, almost 20 people lost their lives in detention and prisons. Many people were subjected to torture and degrading treatment. 41 000 people were detained, legal actions were performed against 122 000 people in public offices, 87 000 people were dismissed and 35 thousand people were laid-off. 177 media organizations were shut down, almost 10 000 journalists and media employees became unemployed, and 144 journalists were detained. Moreover, trustees were appointed to 53 municipalities. HDP’s 12 MPs including co-leaders, thousands of provincial and district executives and members were detained. Legal proceedings against 3750 social media users were performed, 1 656 people were detained, and 10 000 people’s files are being examined. Banks, factories and several companies have been confiscated. More than 1 500 associations, 15 universities and several unions were closed.

As the IHD, we are against the state of emergency due to the fact that the state of emergency means unlawfulness and arbitrariness. It means not to be able to exercise and protect individual rights and freedoms. It means the disablement of the legislative power and putting aside the judicial protection and principle of rule of law when violations come into question. The state of emergency means reversing to the regime of prohibitions.

However, what Turkey needs is a regime of freedoms, democracy; the recognition, exercise, protection and improvement of the human rights and freedoms. The state of emergency is rejection of democracy; it is a war policy and practice.

Instead, what Turkey needs is peace; Turkey needs peace and democracy policies and practices. The state of emergency must be lifted. What Turkey and society need is a democratic regime where the demand for peace and democracy will be materialized.

In the currently implemented state of emergency regime, the state is desired to be restructured not in a democratic way, rather in a despotism-oriented way. The constitutional amendments have been brought into agenda for this reason and under the state of emergency conditions that we go through.

No to state of emergency, the state of emergency must be lifted!

HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION