Note On State Of Emergency And Recent Developments In Turkey

Bükreş Büyükelçiliği 25.07.2016

- Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) has staged a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. The perpetrators attacked civilian people, crushed the democracy defenders on the streets under tank palettes, and even bombed the Turkish Parliament. 246 Turkish citizens lost their lives and 2185 were wounded.

- FETÖ poses a grave threat to the survival of the Turkish state through its clandestine infiltration into state institutions. In order to have an effective fight against this terrorist organization, the Council of Ministers declared on July 20, 2016 a state of emergency for a period of 90 days, pursuant to Article 120 of the Constitution. The decision was endorsed by the Turkish Parliament on July 21, 2016.

- The purpose of the state of emergency is to take required measures in the most speedy and effective manner in the fight against FETÖ members in order to save our nation from this ferocious network and return to normalcy as soon as possible. In this process, utmost care will continue to be shown to uphold our democracy and the fundamental rights of our citizens with the rule of law.

- State of Emergency is a measure regulated by the Turkish Constitution and relevant national legislation and also a practice permissible under international human rights law, including European Convention of Human Rights. State of Emergency should not be mixed with Martial Law. It will not have direct impact on people’s daily lives.

- It is not only Turkey who resorted to State of Emergency in such circumstances. Many developed countries did the same when facing similar security threats. France, a member of the EU and the CoE, also declared State of Emergency on 14 November 2015 and implemented this measure since then. This week it has been extended for another 6 months.

- During the period until 15 July 2016 when Turkey faced the coup attempt, the Turkish government carried out its counter-terror operations against PKK and DAESH terrorist organizations in severe conditions without declaring a State of Emergency. The Government spared no effort to carry out the measures within the context of the regular norms and standards of the European Human Rights regime. Yet, in the face of grave and violent attacks against the national security and FETÖ terrorist organization’s infiltration everywhere, as closely manifested during its coup attempt on 15 July 2016, the declaration of the State of Emergency was deemed necessary. In this context, like France, Turkey resorted to the right of derogation from the obligations in the Convention as prescribed in the European Convention on Human Rights, permissible under Article 15 of the Convention. As stated in the Convention explicitly, a derogation is not a suspension of rights. It brings certain limitations to the exercise of certain rights under required conditions.

-The Republic of Turkey is fully aware of its obligations related to democracy, human rights, the principle of rule of law and international conventions in this process and as in the past, due respect will be shown to fundamental rights and freedoms and the principle of supremacy of law will be strictly observed.

- The purpose of the declaration of the State of Emergency, is not to restrict fundamental freedoms of our citizens, but to eliminate FETÖ terrorist organization in a more speedy and effective way.

- Although the State of Emergency has been declared for a period of 90 days, all extraordinary measures will be terminated once the result in the fight against the FETÖ terrorist organization will be successfully attained.

- Faced with such ferocious atrocity, the expectation for reinstating the death penalty, as voiced by the people should be seen as a reflection of the strong reaction they have felt against these treasonous crimes. This expectation will naturally be assessed prudently, in its due course, through all possible channels including the Parliament. Capital punishment was long removed from the domestic legislation. Similarly, Turkey is party to relevant international instruments concerning the abolition of the death penalty.

- We are fully aware of our international obligations as well as the existing national legislation. Conclusions of the democratic debate that can be carried at a time ripe, shall be decisive. In this regard, we note with concern the prejudging and speculative comments and statements, before this debate has even not advanced. It is not right to draw hasty conclusions starting from false assumptions.

- All opposition parties stood against this coup attempt. Yesterday, the anti coup rally of the main opposition party CHP in Istanbul drew tens of thousand of people from all ideologies.

- The Government is taking security measures to prevent further attacks by FETÖ members by arrests and suspensions with the instruction of relevant prosecutors. Only people that are linked with the coup plot and this secret – messianic FETÖ group are targeted. All suspects are given due legal process.

- The Turkish people stood up and prevented a coup attempt for the first time in Turkish history. This was a collective effort.

- Despite numerous terror attacks in the past, Turkey has not compromised democratic standards and human rights principles. We will continue to strongly uphold these standards in the wake of this recent threat to our democracy.