Monday 22 October 2018
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Turkey: Normalizing the State of Emergency

Expand The human rights monument in Ankara cordoned off with a police barricade during Turkey’s state of emergency to prevent its use as a site of public assembly and protest, 2017. © 2017 private (Istanbul)—A draft law being rushed through Turkey’s parliament will preserve many of the abusive powers granted to the president and executive under the country’s recent state of emergency, which formally ended on July 18, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. The proposed law will allow authorities under the presidency, for the next three years, to dismiss judges and all other public officials arbitrarily. It also would allow the authorities to restrict movement within Turkey, ban public assemblies, and allow police to hold some suspects for up to 12 days without charge and repeatedly detain them in the same investigation. The bill does not provide adequate court oversight of use of these powers or meaningful redress for victims where use of these powers violates their rights. “The end of Turkey’s state of emergency should have been a good sign for human rights, but the draft law makes clear that the government’s plan is to end it in name only,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should scrap this law and fully restore human rights and the rule of law in Turkey.” The two-year state of emergency was imposed following a 2016 violent coup attempt in which 250 people were killed. During it the government was allowed to rule by decree without adequate oversight by parliament or the courts. Turkish authorities dismissed over 130,000 public officials for alleged coup or terrorism links, with courts holding around 77,000 in pretrial detention on those charges, while many more were put on trial. Many media outlets were closed down An April 2017 referendum approved an executive presidency with weakened judicial and parliamentary checks. Those

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