Council of Europe secretary general: Turkey has a right to 'derogate' ECHR
by Daily Sabah
ANKARAJul 24, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jul 24, 2016 12:00 am
The secretary-general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, acknowledged Turkey's right to derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) under Article 15.
Following a failed July 15 coup attempt orchestrated by U.S.-based, retired imam Fethullah Gülen, who leads the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ), Parliament ratified a motion for a three-month state of emergency on July 21 and suspended the ECHR in a bid to strengthen state powers and round up suspects behind the failed coup attempt. Jagland said on June 21 that the possibility of derogation is foreseen by Article 15 of the convention in times of public emergency threatening the life of a nation and has been used in the past by other member states, most recently France and Ukraine.
"It is important to note that the European Convention on Human Rights will continue to apply in Turkey. Where the government seeks to invoke Article 15 in order to derogate from the convention in individual cases, the ECHR will decide whether the application meets the criteria set out in the convention; notably, the criteria of proportionality of the measures taken," Jagland said.
Meanwhile, Turkish officials constantly reiterate that there will be no derogation from key rights in the ECHR such as the right to life and the ban on retroactive punishment and torture.
In a statement on July 21, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had received repeated assurances from senior Turkish government officials that they would adhere to rule of law and due process when investigating and prosecuting those believed to be responsible for the attempted coup, and asked that the officials honor the pledges to adhere to the rule of law.Likewise, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said on July 20: "The state of emergency in Turkey won't include restrictions on movement, gatherings and free press." He added that he is "confident Turkey will come out of this with a much stronger democracy, better functioning market economy and enhanced investment climate."
Since the ECHR was established in 1953, so far eight countries, including the U.K. and France, have used their rights to derogate the convention.