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It is high time for the European Court of Human Rights to step in!

Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on 15 July 2016. The 3-month State of the Emergency regime which was declared immediately after the coup attempt (21/07/2016) by the Cabinet “to preserve the democratic order” has since been extended for five times.Despite calls by the European Union, the Council of Europe, and the Venice Commission and numerous human rights institutions for the Turkish government to end it, the State of Emergency Regime remains in effect. In defiance of its purpose, The Turkish government has subversively used the State of Emergency Regime against the country’s democratic parliamentary system, the rule of law and human rights.

During the state of emergency, so far;
-28 deputies have been taken into custody, duly elected mayors of 90 different towns/cities have been removed from office,
-61,247 individuals, including 16 deputies, two members of the Constitutional Court, 193 members of the Court of Cassation, 2360 judges and prosecutors, 571 lawyers and 308 journalists have been arrested,
-As of today, a total of 128,998 people have been taken into custody for terrorism-related offenses (being the members of an armed terrorist organization. 100 people a day are being arrested on average.

With thirty different Emergency Decree Law, which is exempt from judicial review;
-146,713 public servants including 4463 judges and prosecutors, 8693 academics, 6687 doctors and paramedics 44,392 teachers have been dismissed from their jobs,
-3003 private hospitals, schools, student dorms and universities, 187 media outlets, 1,412 associations and 139 charities have been shut down, and their assets have been confiscated,
-1,020 private companies have been seized.

On the face of these human rights breaches, European Court of Human Rights is the ultimate hope of the victims. Yet, the ECHR has been consistently refusing applications on the grounds that the domestic remedies in Turkey is not yet consummated.In order to prevent conviction at the ECHR, the Turkish government instituted the Constitutional Court as an additional court of appeal for individuals and established a highly unproductive Commission on Statutory Decrees Under State of Emergency. Neither institution helps the victims.

Only last week, four separate criminal courts of the first instance have refused to implement an order of the Turkish Constitutional Court to release veteran journalist Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay:
-On 11 January 2018, the Turkish Constitutional Court decided that the detention of journalists Sahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan were unlawful and that it constituted a violation of their rights protected by both the Turkish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights,
-On the same day, Istanbul 13th and 26th High Penal Courts refused to release Altan and Alpay on the grounds that the decisions (of the TCC) have not yet been published in the Official Gazette,
-On 12 January 2018, Istanbul 13th and 26th High Penal Courts declined release of Altan and Alpay once again on the grounds that the TCC exceeded its authority as specified in the Constitution itself,
-On 15 January 2018, Istanbul 14th and 27th High Penal Courts turned down objections from the lawyers of Altan and Alpay that the decision of the TCC had to be implemented without delay and ordered their detention to continue.

In the light of the above, there is without a doubt no effective domestic remedy in Turkey and the judicial hierarchy as determined by the Turkish Constitution has been disrupted.

We, therefore, urge The European Court of Human Rights to reconsider its current view that the Turkish Constitutional Court offers an effective domestic remedy and start without further delay reconsidering applications brought by thousands of victims against Turkey.

It is high time for the European Court of Human Rights to step in!

We urge everyone to take action. Please sign the petition linked below:
https://www.change.org/p/the-european-court-of-human-rights-the-council-of-europe-it-is-high-time-for-the-european-court-of-human-rights-to-step-in?recruiter=735343625&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_twitter_responsive

This petition will be delivered to:
The European Court of Human Rights
The Council of Europe

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Turkish Teachers in Afghanistan

The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghan intelligence agency, abducted four teachers including one Afghan and three Turkish nationals from one of the schools run by the Afghan Turk CAG Educational NGO (ATCE) on 12 December 2017. While three Turkish nationals and one Afghan teacher were released, two Turkish nationals are still under house arrest and face possible deportation to Turkey.

The ATCE was founded by Gulen inspired Turkish businessmen and teachers and has been running several schools in different cities of Afghanistan since 1995. Despite all the difficulties in the region, the ATCE has continued to maintain its services believing that education is the only way to overcome those difficulties.

Former Deputy Minister of Education, Sediq Patman classified the situation as “politically motivated and unethical.” Former NDS chief has also defined the move as unprecedented in recent years, also as a shameful act for the government. According to former government officials, the raid by the NDS was illegal in the sense that the security forces have been used by the government leaders for political objectives. Despite these statements, there has not been an official comment on the incidence, neither by the government nor the intelligence agency.

Moreover, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani traveled to Istanbul a day before the incidence (12/11/17) to attend a summit organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Ministry of Education said, “it was satisfied with the functioning of these schools, but decision on their fate rested with President Ghani.” Reportedly few days before the operation, the Turkish government announced arrest warrant on teachers’ name for taking part in the so-called coup attempt. Documents indicate that the UN has provided asylum protection to one of the abducted teachers and asked authorities not to extradite him to Turkey.

The operation against the ATCE is part of a Turkish campaign against the followers of Fethullah Gulen who is a Turkish cleric which lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. He promotes a moderate form of Islam, supports inter-faith communication and inspires to promote education in different parts of the world. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses him of orchestrating the failed coup-attempt. Mr. Gulen has strongly been denying all the allegations.

As the Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we strongly request your assistance to remind the Afghan authorities to ensure that the individuals at risk avoid expulsion in Turkey, where they would, with a great deal of certainty, be subject to torture and ill-treatment. We do believe that this is also an important moment to act in accordance with the Constitution of Afghanistan and relevant provisions of accepted international human rights treaties, in particular, CAT Article 3. We further believe that this is also an opportunity to demonstrate Afghanistan’s resolute commitment to upholding the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, ahead of its upcoming UN Human Rights Council membership.

Read AST’s statement on the Turkish teachers in Afghanistan : http://silencedturkey.org/missing-teachers-in-afghanistan

Read more on the situation of Turkish teachers in Afghanistan : http://silencedturkey.org/fate-of-four-afghan-turk-teachers-remains-uncertain
http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/12278-erdogan-s-long-shadow-reaches-g-len-s-schools-afghanistan

Download sample statement a word document: AST_Letter_Teachers_in_Afghanistan

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement to the following addresses:

1. Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan
Twitter: @ashrafghani
Phone: 0202104444, 0202104445
(Can be reached through the Acting Spokesperson for the President’s Office)

Shah Hussain Murtazawi, Acting Spokesperson for the President’s Office
Phone: +93 (0) 728 998 907
Email: murtazawi84@yahoo.com

2. Salahuddin Rabbani. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Address: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Malek Asghar St. Kabul, Afghanistan
Phone: 0093 (0) 20 2100372, 0093 (0) 20 2100371
Email: info@mfa.af
Twitter: @mfa_afghanistan
http://mfa.gov.af/en/form/contactus

3. Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States
Address: Embassy of Afghanistan, 2341 Wyoming Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202-483-6410
Fax: 202-483-6488
Twitter: @hmohib
info@afghanembassy.ushttps://www.afghanembassy.us/contact-us/

4. Mahmoud SAIKAL, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New York
Address: 633 Third Avenue Floor 27A, New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-972 1212
Fax: 212-972 1216
@AfghanMissionUN
info@afghanistan-un.org

5. U.S. Embassy Kabul
Phone: (00 93) (0)700-10-8000
Fax: (00 93) (0)700-108-564
@USEmbassyKabul
KabulACS@state.gov

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STATUTORY DECREE NO. 696

After the July 15th failed-coup attempt, the Turkish state has engaged in many illegal activities. The Erdogan regime passed several statutory decrees including the Decree number 675, which is mentioned in detail below, to suppress fear of persecution its supporters possess and encourage them to continue their work. As a matter of fact, the statutory decree mentioned provides impunity to the government officials who have acted in an illegal manner toward masses demonized by the government aided media, in the direction of Erdogan regime’s policies. Nonetheless, it protects them from being prosecuted for any crimes they commit.

Currently, Erdogan regime has issued a new statutory decree (KHK) which indicates that all citizens, regardless of whether they are public servant, are entitled to any kind of intervention against those who are demonized and labeled as terrorist by the regime. Accordingly, any person or group considered to be a terrorist in the eyes of the government may be deprived of all rights recognized as universal human rights. Furthermore, anyone who unfairly treats these labeled individuals, without any authorization or court decision, will get impunity from legal or criminal penalties.

The new arrangement is such a dangerous law that can cause execution of a judge who acquits someone who has been unfairly judged as a member of a terrorist organization because doing so would seem as if the judge was supporting the terrorist organization.

Likewise, any person or group who is a terrorist in the eyes of the government can become a victim of any person who sees themselves as a supporter of the Erdogan regime.

To conclude, this arrangement has made lawlessness lawful and severely harms the independence of the Turkish judiciary. With this arrangement, everyone who receives government support becomes a judge, a prosecutor and everyone also become a legal victim.

Read AST’s statement on the Decree Law: http://silencedturkey.org/statement-statutory-decrees-no695-696

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement to following addresses:

U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senators
State Representatives
State Senators

Find your members of Congress:https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members

American Bar Association
https://www.americanbar.org/about_the_aba/contact.html

Federal Bar Association
http://www.fedbar.org/Menu/Contact-Us.aspx

Supreme Court Bar Association
https://www.supremecourt.gov/contact/contactus.aspx

Download sample statement for Bar associations as a word document: AST_Letter_Decree_Bar

Download sample statement for members of Congress as a word document: AST_Letter_Decree_Representatives

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