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Venice Commission

SEND A LETTER | PURGED PUBLIC WORKERS

PURGED BEYOND RETURNS

SEND A LETTER to COUNCIL OF EUROPE, VENICE COMMISSION & MEMBER OF CABINET

“On the evening of 15 July 2016, elements within Turkey’s armed forces attempted a violent coup. The coup attempt was quickly thwarted as thousands of people took to the streets and state forces overpowered the coup plotters. Hundreds died, and thousands were injured in a night of terrible violence. The government declared a state of emergency soon afterwards on 20 July 2016 with the stated aim of countering threats to national security arising from the coup attempt. While the state of emergency was initially declared for three months, it would be renewed seven times, and its remit broadened to include combatting ‘terrorist’ organizations. The state of emergency finally ended on 18 July 2018, two years after it was first announced, having ushered in a period of tremendous upheaval in Turkish public life.

During the state of emergency, the government had the extraordinary power to issue emergency decrees with the force of law. These decrees were used to enact a wide variety of measures, affecting diverse issues from detention periods and NGO closures to snow tyre requirements. Around 130,000 public sector workers were dismissed by emergency decrees. Those dismissed include teachers, academics, doctors, police officers, media workers employed by the state broadcaster, members of the armed forces, as well as people working at all levels of local and central government. Their dismissals did not include specific evidence or details of their alleged wrongdoing. Instead, the decrees offered a generalized justification that they ‘…had links to, were part of, were connected to, or in communication with…’ proscribed groups.
The arbitrary dismissals have had a devastating impact on those who lost their jobs and their families. They did not only lose the jobs they occupied; in some cases, they were entirely cut off from access to their professions, as well as housing and healthcare benefits, leaving them and their families without livelihood opportunities.

For a long time, these dismissed public sector workers did not have any recourse against their dismissal as they had no access to ordinary administrative or legal channels in Turkey. Following considerable domestic and international pressure, the government passed an emergency decree in January 2017 setting up a ‘State of Emergency Inquiry Commission’ (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Commission’) to review decisions taken by the emergency decrees, including the appeals of purged public sector workers. Amnesty International research, which involved a review of procedures and a sample of decisions taken by this Commission and interviews with dismissed individuals and their families, reveals that the Commission – by its very design – is not set up to provide an effective remedy to the thousands of public sector workers dismissed from their jobs by emergency decrees. The combination of factors – including the lack of genuine institutional independence, lengthy review procedures, absence of necessary safeguards allowing individuals to effectively rebut allegations about their alleged illegal activity and weak evidence cited in decisions upholding dismissals – resulted in the failure of the Commission to provide a recourse against dismissals, leaving more than a hundred thousand individuals – their livelihoods on hold – without a timely and effective means of justice and reparation. The Commission does not have institutional independence from the government as its members are largely appointed by the government and may be dismissed simply by virtue of an ‘administrative investigation’ on the basis of suspicion of links to proscribed groups. Thus, the provisions for
appointments and dismissals could easily influence the decision-making process; should members fail to make decisions expected of them, the government can just as easily dispense with them.”

Purged Beyond Return Report by AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, pp. 4-5, October 2018.

SEND A LETTER AS A DISMISSED PUBLIC WORKER OR DEFENDER

The Commission of Europe invited OHAL commission to Strasbourg in November about their political decisions and the violation of rights of the dismissed 130,000 public workers. We urge the dismissed public workers or their defenders to write letters to the commission, member of the parliament, President of the Council of EU and Secretary of Venice Commission:
In order to comply with the human rights standards that they profess to uphold, Turkish authorities should reinstate all the dismissed public sector workers and, in any cases where individuals are reasonably suspected of wrongdoing or misconduct in their employment, or of a criminal offense, any decision on their dismissal should be made solely in a regular disciplinary process with full procedural safeguards.

3 SAMPLE LETTERS FOR PUBLIC WORKERS

Below are the sample letters created for a dismissed teacher, doctor and public worker. Do not forget to include your own story by changing the related parts.

You can download TEACHERS SAMPLE LETTER here…

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Teacher_sample_letter.pdf

You can download DOCTORS SAMPLE LETTER here…

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Doctors_sample_letter.pdf

You can download PUBLIC WORKER SAMPLE LETTER here…

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/public_servants_Sample_letter.pdf

CONTACT INFORMATION TO SEND YOUR LETTER.

1) PRESIDENT OF EUROPEAN COUNCIL
Donald TUSK
https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/contact/general-enquiries/send-message/?IsPresident=true

2) PRESS OFFICE
press.office@consilium.europa.eu

3) PRESS CENTER
press.centre@consilium.europa.eu
Planning.Audiovisuel@consilium.europa.eu

4) SECRETARY OF VENICE COMMISSION
Thomas Markert
Thomas.markert@coe.int

4) RIAA OOMEN
Chairperson of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy: Bureau of the Assembly
ria.oomen-ruijten@eerstekamer.nl

5) BERNARD BRUNET
Bernard Brunet is currently Head of Unit “Thematic Support, Monitoring, and Evaluation” in the
European Commission (DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement
Bernard.BRUNET@ec.europa.eu

6) JOHANNES NOACK
Member of Cabinet
johannes.noack@ec.europa.eu

7) MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE on Political Affairs and Democracy
http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/AssemblyList/AL-XML2HTML-EN.asp?lang=en&XmlID=Committee-Pol

8) TWITTER

—-VENICE COMMISSION—-
@venicecomm

—-EUROPEAN COUNCIL—-
@EUCouncil

“PURGED BEYOND RETURN” 28 pages report released by Amnesty International about the
130,000 dismissed public workers in Turkey. You can reach the report from the link;

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur44/9210/2018/en/

NEED HELP?

If you need help to translate your story, AST volunteers in your local community will help you.
If you could not find an AST volunteer for the translation of your letter from Turkish to English to submit, you can send the Turkish letter to help@silencedturkey.org until November 15. We will try to do our best to translate your letter by our volunteers and empower you to submit your letter to the relevant commissions and officials in Europe

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Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay should be immediately released

Amnesty International Orange County:

On January 11, 2018, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled in a criminal case that Mehmet Altan and fellow journalist Sahin Alpay’s rights were being violated by pre-trial detention and ruled that they should be released, nut the 27th High Criminal Court in Istanbul declined to implement the Constitutional Court decision.

Following the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, and the imposition of a state of emergency, over 180 news outlets have been shut down under laws passed by presidential decree. There are now at least 148 writers, journalists, and media workers in prison, making Turkey the biggest jailer of journalists in the world.

Prof. Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay are only two of the hundreds of victims of this horrific violation of democratic values and principles within Turkey.

Mehmet Altan, the Faculty of Economics at Istanbul University since 1986, was also a journalist working in the daily Sabah (1987-2006) and worked as an editor-in-chief in the daily Star until 2012. He has been dismissed from his newspaper because of the government’s pressures on free media.

Sahin Alpay, faculty in Bahcesehir University since 2001, was arrested in 2016. He worked as a writer and editor for Cumhuriyet, Sabah, and Milliyet Newspapers. He directed the “Intellectual Perspective” a weekly program at Turkish CNN and he was a columnist at the now closed-down Zaman Newspaper. He also hosted a program, which aired on the now closed-down Mehtap TV channel.

In September 2016, Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay were detained as part of a wave of arrests of thinkers and writers following the failed July 2016 coup attempt. Arrested for allegedly giving “subliminal messages” to announce the coup on a television roundtable discussion show, Mr. Altan was charged with attempting to overthrow the “constitutional order”, “interfering with the work of the national assembly”, and “interfering with the work of the government” through violence or force.

Amnesty Orange County call the authorities in Turkey to respect and implement the ruling of the Turkish Constitutional Court for Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay to be released immediately alongside all the other journalists and writers, including Mehmet Altan’s brother Ahmet Altan who is also among the incarcerated writers and journalists.

We urge everyone to take action. Please sign the petition linked below: https://www.change.org/p/turkey-mehmet-altan-and-sahin-alpay-should-be-immediately-released?recruiter=841476427&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

This petition will be delivered to:
Turkey Consulate of Turkey in Los Angeles
Embassy of Turkey, Washington, D.C.
TURKEY MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

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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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