Turkey's Recent Emergency Rule (2016-2018) and its Legality Under the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Institute for European Studies, 2019
58 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 29, 2019
States, like people, have an instinct to protect themselves when in a life-and-death struggle. The recognition of a state of emergency, or of siege, in the domestic legal order, dates back to at least Roman times. (David Kretzmer, State of Emergency, Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL] updated February, 2008) Primary international human rights treaties include a derogation clause for emergency situations.
The 2016 coup attempt caused the declaration of a state of emergency in Turkey that lasted two years. Firstly, this thesis analyzes whether or not a coup attempt can justify the declaration of a state of emergency; secondly, measures adopted under Emergency Decrees are legal under Turkey’s Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, based on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, the General Comments of the UN Human Rights Committee, opinions, consideration, guidelines, recommendations adopted by International Organizations, academic publishing, and other sources.
The thesis concludes that while the Turkish Government was correct in promulgating the state of emergency to deal with the danger caused by the coup attempt, it excessively used emergency powers and adopted measures to go beyond what is strictly required by the situation’s exigencies. It also notes that both national and international safeguards, devised to supervise the state of emergency, didn’t prevent the Turkish Government from breaching its obligations under national and international law.
Keywords: State of Emergency, Derogation, Proportionality, Necessity, Absolute Rights, ICCPR, ECHR
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