Leighann Spencer, rights defender and editor of platformpj.org wrote the inadequacies of the ECtHR vis a vis Turkey. In her article “The ECtHR and Post-coup Turkey: Losing Ground or Losing Credibility?” published on the Verfassungsblog, Spencer reviewed criticisms against the ECtHR rulings and responses by the CoE representatives. She underlined that the ECtHR rejected, on dubious grounds, more than 90% of over 33 thousand applications it had recieved from the Turkish post coup victims of the crackdown and a large scale purge.
Spencer points out that the most vital criticism centered around the ECtHR position to accept the Turkish State of Emergency Commission as a viable domestic avenue as stated in its ruling for the Koksal v. Turkey case. The criticisms highlight that the Commission is inefficient and non-impartial. She stresses that it can take a decade or more to exhaust domestic avenues.
She underlines the fact that the ECtHR fails to provide justice for post-coup victims who were arrested, put into pre-trial solitary confinement without justification, tortured and faced inhuman and degraded treatment. The ECtHR rulings have signalled to Turkish authorities that violating human rights goes unpunished (Bora v. Turkey).
Spencer states that the ECtHR has also been criticized by human rights defenders like Human Rights Watch for acting selectively and giving priority to the journalists and parliamentarians. Having read the reference to Sahin Alpay case in the CoE statement made in after the meeting with the Turkish Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) representatives, that “the decisions of the assize courts raised serious doubts about the effectiveness of the remedy”, she asks the question “why then is the judicial system still considered viable?”
She also outlines the MLSA statement made in response to the CoE statement. The MLSA states that it takes too long for the ECtHR to review the applications. With respect to the issue of viable domestic remedies, the MLSA agrees with much of the criticism toward the ECtHR. Spencer concludes that the meeting between the CoE representatives and an NGO is a cause for optimism. She recommends that the CoE must reconsider the criteria of a viable domestic avenue. While acknowledging the necessity to remain neutral in political situations, Spencer points out that such a blatant crackdown needs to be confronted by the ECtHR to protect its credibility and maintain its reputation in the eyes of the civil society and Turkish people.
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