Turkey Risks International Isolation By Suspending ECHR

“The aim of the declaration of the state of emergency is to be able to take fast and effective steps against this threat against democracy,” said Erdogan after the coup.

Turkish President

Turkey will temporarily suspend the European Convention on Human Rights after declaring a state of emergency on the heels of the failed Turkish coup, the country’s deputy minister announced Thursday.

The statement by Numan Kurtulmus also added the measure is expected to last at least a month as the government is planning to restructure the army due to its “structural and individual” intelligence failure during the coup attempt.

The move came after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a state of emergency on Wednesday that took effect Thursday morning.

“The purpose of the state of emergency is to most effectively and swiftly take steps necessary to eliminate the threat to democracy in our country," Erdogan said, and added EU had no right to criticize the decision.

Under the emergency measure, the Turkish president and his ministers are able to bypass the parliament when passing laws.

While some rights in the Convention cannot be suspended, including the right to life and the ban on torture, the ones pertaining to freedom of speech, movement and expression can be severely limited — so much so that Turkey’s European neighbors fear an erosion of democracy.




The Turkish people dread the move will witness a return of the martial law regime such as the one that happened after a 1980 military coup.

Demonstraros wave Turkish flags

Turkish demonstrators

Mehmet Simsek, the deputy-prime minister, tried to allay fears on Thursday be declaring:

“The state of emergency in Turkey won't include restrictions on movement, gatherings and free press, etc. It isn't martial law of 1990s,” he said. “I'm confident Turkey will come out of this with much stronger democracy, better functioning market economy and enhanced investment climate.”

But not long after Simsek issued the statement, a crackdown on journalists and human rights activists spread throughout Turkey.

Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a prominent human rights defender and newspaper columnist was arrested at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport while trying to leave the country.

An Istanbul court also ordered to halt the publishing of Turkish satirical magazine Le Man, whose cover depicted last week’s coup and police raided the magazines from the shelf.

The decision purports to move Turkey away from the core values represented by The European Union and can stop the country’s bid to join the bloc, especially if Erdogan moves forward to restore the death penalty.

Guenther Oettinger, the European Commissioner warned Turkey that it could face international isolation, including suspension from the Nato, even if he was able to strengthen his rule within the country.

Austria became the first country to take diplomatic action over Erdogan’s crackdown, by summoning Turkey’s ambassador to its foreign ministry over accusations that Turkey had been behind the recent protests in Vienna.

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