Emergency administration regimes are applied when necessary due to extraordinary threats or dangers the government or the legal order of a country might encounter such as a natural disaster, dangerous epidemic, serious economic crisis, serious indications of widespread violence aimed at the destruction of the free democratic order or serious deterioration of public order because of violence.
A state of emergency may be maintained in one or more regions or throughout the country for a period not exceeding six months.
How does the process work?
During a state of emergency, the Cabinet has the right to issue statutory decrees under the presidency of the president of the Republic without regard to routine procedures and restrictions in the 91st article of the Constitution. These decrees are first published in the Official Gazette and then submitted to Parliament to pass the motion.
What are the main decisions expected to be implemented with the state of emergency?
The authority of governors is expected to be increased. In addition to that, detention periods are extended if necessary when needed. Carrying or transporting guns is quite likely to be restricted even if they are registered, as well as the restriction of bullets, armories, bombs, explosives and radioactive materials or similar substances.
What other decisions can be made during a state of emergency?
Curfews can be declared, public gatherings at certain times and in certain areas can be prevented and some roads can be blocked and meetings can be disallowed in order to protect public order. People, their vehicles and their belongings can be searched and anything considered as proof of a crime can be seized. People can be asked to carry identity cards during the state of emergency area. Association activities can be stopped as well for a maximum of three months. The printing and distribution of newspapers, magazines, flyers and books can be prevented and such publications can be confiscated. Any written or visual material can be inspected and seized if necessary.
How will nationwide coordination be ensured?
Coordination in the state of emergency will be ensured by the ministry charged by the Prime Ministry and the prime minister as well as a "State of Emergency Coordination Council" of ministers. Governors will have authority concerning security issues and the implementation of decisions as well as local administration issues. In every region, a "Regional State of Emergency Council" will be formed under the authority of regional governors who will be expected to have excessive authorization throughout the process concerning security issues and the implementation of decisions as well as local administration issues.
Will Parliament still hold the same authorities in the state of emergency?
During the state of emergency, Parliament holds authority to approve legislative decisions before them, which will be published in the Official Gazette. Parliament also has authority to lift or extend the state of emergency.
Which other countries have implemented a state of emergency?
Spain announced a state of emergence in 2010 due to an air traffic controller strike. The devastating forest fire in Alberta, Canada also led to a state of emergency earlier in 2016. Area specific states of emergency were implemented in the U.S. due to a massive snow storm in North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia; a massive gas leak in California and after the attack at a gay night club in Orlando, all in 2016. The state of emergency announced after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, which allows the president to reactivate troops past their normal deployment, is still in force in the U.S. The Paris attacks in 2015 led to the declaration of a state of emergency as well, and this decision was extended in July 2016 for six months due to another terror attack in Nice.
Osman Can (Venice Commission member, Council of Europe):
A state of emergency is a legal regime regulated by a country's constitution, which allows it to take certain measures effectively, following natural disasters, epidemics and security issues. Article 15 of the European Convention of Human Rights acknowledges these and states that basic human rights and freedoms may be limited during in such cases. Freedom of expression, freedom of press, and right to protest might not apply during a state of emergency, and the European Courts of Human Rights has asserted that these rights can be suspended. However, these precautions have to be well balanced, in order to not violate the sanctity of life and innocence.
Cem Duran Uzun (Constitutional lawyer – SETA):
In a state of emergency, the cabinet's authority to pass statutory decrees doesn't mean that the parliament is bypassed altogether. The said decrees still have to be proposed to the parliament, and the parliament has the right to approve, decline, alter or annul them. After the state of emergency is published in the Official Gazette, the parliament will vote for or against, which indicates that parliament is still functional. There exists an article about state of emergency in all states under the rule of law, and ours concurs with the international laws. A state of emergency is neither an anti-democratic nor illegal process. Constitutional rights and obligations are still in force.
Taylan Barın (Lawyer – Yıldırım Beyazıt University):
Parliament is not bypassed during a state of emergency, during which basic rights and freedoms are still protected by the state. It is a state in which decisions must be swift; thus the executive is given more authority. The untouchable rights and freedoms are decided according to Article 120 of Constitution, which include the right to live, religious freedom and freedom of opinion. In a state of emergency, everybody remains innocent until proven guilty. Therefore I do not think that being concerned with a declaration of a state of emergency is rational.
Özlem Zengin (Chief adviser of the president):
First of all, I need to express that the state of emergency is a constitutional administration method that exists in all modern constitutions around the world. There are actually two kinds of methods, one of them is martial law and the other one is state of emergency. To put it simply, if the military manages this process, it is martial law. If civilians manage this process, it is a state of emergency. All in all, in these terrifying days we are going through, we are putting an administration method into practice in which a constitutional method of administration concerning public order is dominated by the civilian government. It exists in all modern constitutions. So are there any restrictions or supervision of basic rights and liberties? There are many. Maybe it is necessary to list the most basic differences to make it clearer. Here, the opinion of the National Security Council was received and the Cabinet held a meeting right after under the presidency of the president, which decided to implement a state of emergency and it was put into enforcement after being published in the Official Gazette. One of the most important authorizations granted with this is the right to issue delegated legislation to the Cabinet to be held, again, under the presidency of the president of the Republic. Under normal circumstances, concerning basic rights and liberties, such delegated legislation can only be issued by the empowering law and regard economic and social rights, which require verification.
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