Turkey: From state of emergency to ordinary emergency

Justice and the Rule of Law, Press Release, Turkey

Read in:  Arabic 

Joint press release

Brussels, 23 July 2018

EuroMed Rights and the Human Rights Association (Insan Haklari Dernegi-IHD) denounce the new draft law, being discussed by Turkish Parliament today, which would see the state of emergency restrictive provisions integrated into ordinary law. If adopted, the supposedly exceptional restrictions to fundamental freedoms will pose an even more serious threat to rule of law in Turkey.

The new draft law would legalize the procedure for mass dismissals of civil servants for a period of three more years while it would extend the police custody up to 12 days. The offence, Art. 216 of the Turkish Criminal Code “Provoking the Public to Hatred, Hostility”, which is already commonly invoked to stifle peaceful dissent, would be adjudicated under the draconian anti-terror law n° 3713.

Despite the fact it has been lifted on 18 July 2018, any future declaration of the state of emergency can be made by the President alone, as well as the issuing of decrees having the force of law, according to Article 119 of the 2017 Constitution. EuroMed Rights and IHD jointly reaffirm that human rights and the rule of law cannot be sacrificed in the name of the fight against terrorism. Therefore, we call on the Turkish authorities to:

  • Refrain from adopting the draft law while instead amending the broad anti-terrorism laws and the Penal Code misused in indictments against human rights defenders, journalists and other dissenting voices;
  • Unconditionally drop politically motivated charges and proceedings; release from custody without delay the thousands of citizens unjustly jailed or facing judicial harassment for the legitimate exercise of their fundamental freedoms;
  • Ensure effective access to remedy for those dismissed from their jobs following the decree laws adopted under the previous state of emergency and reinstate them without delay.

The European Union should prioritize a human rights-based approach in its relations with Turkey, including in negotiations on economic cooperation, trade and investment. The Council of Europe should also urge the Turkish authorities to comply with their universal human rights obligations.

Background Information

So far, more than 150,000 civil servants and university teachers have been dismissed from their functions. Attacks against human rights defenders are widespread: thousands have been sentenced to prison or remain behind bars awaiting trial. Others have been subjected to judicial harassment, and some have seen their passports cancelled, banning them from travelling abroad.


Read the press release in Turkish here.