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Turkey’s state of emergency commission has approved 6,000 out of 77,900 purge victim applications reviewed

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A commission set up by the government to look into complaints from individuals who were adversely affected by government decrees during a two-year-long state of emergency (OHAL) in Turkey has so far only approved 6,000 out of 77,900 applications reviewed thus far, Turkish media reported.

The commission, consisting of 250 officials, had received a total of 126,200 applications as of Friday, meaning that it has already ruled on 61 percent of the cases since December 2017.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of a failed coup in the country on July 15, 2016 that remained in effect until July 19, 2018.

During the state of emergency, the AKP issued a number of government decrees, known as KHKs, through which thousands of academics, politicians, teachers, doctors, officials, businessmen, artists and journalists were 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 movement strongly denies any involvement in the abortive putsch.

The commission accepts complaints regarding dismissal from the civil service, jobs or organizations; dismissal from university and the loss of student status; the closure of associations, organizations, unions, federations, confederations, private health institutions, private education institutions, private institutions of higher education, private radio and TV organizations, newspapers and magazines, news agencies, publication houses and distribution channels; and the loss of retiree ranking through government decrees.

Individuals whose applications have been rejected by the OHAL commission have the right, within 60 days, to file a case at the Ankara 19th or 20th administrative courts for cancellation of the decisions of the OHAL commission.

The Ministry of Justice announced in 2017 that with the establishment of the OHAL commission 12,600 cases that were awaiting review at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) have been dropped by the court.

Some critics were suspicious of the commission’s ability to serve justice.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Şenal Sarıhan in July 2017 claimed the OHAL commission was a “stillborn child.”

“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,” Sarıhan added.

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