CHP deputy says OHAL commission is like a stillborn child

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ankara deputy Şenal Sarıhan has said a state of emergency (OHAL) commission established to investigate applications directly related to the loss of state jobs through the issuance of government decrees is like a stillborn child.

Reminding that there are 112,000 people who have the right to apply to the OHAL commission, Sarıhan said: “According to calculations, every file has a 65-second-long investigation period. Giving mere seconds to a file means that the file is not reviewed. That is why I think the commission is like a stillborn child. What is right is to make normal legal mechanisms work. This is also a deception of the European Court of Human Rights. The ECtHR thinks this is a functioning domestic remedy. With this regulation, people are both prevented from getting results from the ECtHR and making individual applications at Turkey’s Constitutional Court.”

A total of 26 government decrees have been issued under a state of emergency, which was declared on July 20, 2016 in the wake of a botched coup attempt last July. While more than 100,000 people were dismissed from state jobs with government decrees and another 32,180 were suspended, the commission only looks into cases of those who were directly dismissed by government decree.

Criticizing the arbitrariness and the ambiguity of the investigation period by the administrative courts, Sarıhan said those who are suspended can apply to an administrative court only after the investigation period in their own institutions is finalized, which may take years.

Human rights lawyer Kerem Altıparmak also said it does not seem likely for any decision to be made by the OHAL commission until the end of the year.

The OHAL commission started receiving applications on July 17.  The commission will operate for two years, starting from the date when state decree No. 685 went into effect. It will be extended on a yearly basis if the Cabinet considers it necessary.

Following the failed coup attempt last year, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government declared emergency rule in Turkey on July 21, 2016, which became effective with a government decree issued on July 23, 2016.

The AKP issued a number of government decrees through which thousands of academics, politicians, teachers, doctors, officials, businessmen, artists and journalists have been purged due to their real or alleged connections to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of being behind the failed coup.

The ECtHR previously came under fire for rejecting applications concerning post-coup purges in Turkey on the grounds that domestic remedies had not been exhausted.

Turkey’s Ministry of Justice said with the establishment of the OHAL commission, 12,600 cases currently awaiting review at the ECtHR were dropped by the court.

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