Top court orders gov’t to pay damages to 166 for suffering from lengthy judicial proceedings

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of 166 people who had delayed access to justice due to lengthy judicial proceedings, ordering the government to pay each of them damages ranging between TL 2,000 ($144) and TL 56,000 ($4,056), local media reported on Wednesday.

The top court said in its ruling that the 166 people suffered rights violations on the grounds that the lawsuits they filed weren’t concluded within a reasonable period of time.

The applications to the high court included a lawsuit that hadn’t been settled for more than 37 years, Turkish media reports said.

In its unanimous decision, the court stated that access to justice within a reasonable period of time was guaranteed in the constitution.

The Turkish judicial system has been undergoing a crisis particularly after a coup attempt in July 2016 following which more than 4,000 of judges and prosecutors were expelled from their posts under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been ruling the country as a single-party government since 2001, has been receiving harsh criticism for putting the judiciary under its control and using judicial mechanisms to silence its critics.

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