Işıl Karakaş, a Turkish judge serving at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), said on Thursday that an increased number of applications from Turkey could block the work of the court, expressing hope that a domestic high court can resolve the complaints filed, especially those submitted after a failed coup on July 15 for severe human rights violations.
Karakaş told Deutsche Welle that the ECtHR would ultimately carry out its duties, but said that thousands of new applications from Turkey after the failed coup would mean a heavy workload for the European court.
Up to 5,000 people have reportedly applied to the ECtHR, citing violations as victims of a purge in Turkey.
Karakaş said all they can hope for would be a national level decision by Turkey’s Constitutional Court. The ECtHR had earlier refused to hear two cases, stating that not all domestic remedies in Turkey had been exhausted. However, Karakaş said that as far as the cases of two high court judges under arrest are concerned, an exception could be made since there is no way for them to file a complaint inside Turkey.
Applications from Turkey are currently on hold while the ECtHR awaits the exhaustion of domestic remedies.
In reaction to these comments, a human rights lawyer from Ankara University, Kerem Altıparmak, said in a Twitter message that the European court is making a mistake. “It should not prefer to freeze the applications, but render a leading pilot verdict,” Altıparmak noted. “Otherwise it will be too late,” the jurist warned the European court.
In the wake of the coup attempt, Turkey has dismissed over 130,000 people from civil service positions and has jailed over 40,000 including journalists, judges, prosecutors, businesspeople and even housewives on charges of coup involvement.