Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ) European Association of Judges (EAJ), Judges for Judges, Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL)

On the anniversary of the 2016 Coup, MEDEL, EAJ, AEAJ and Judges for Judges urge the European Institutions to take all necessary steps and measures to make sure Turkey observes the principles of the rule of law as well as the independence of the judiciary and the basic human right of a fair trial for all.

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Your Excellencies, The members of the Platform for an Independent Judiciary observed developments in the Turkish judiciary over th past years, not only from 15th July 2016, the day of the attempted coup d’etat, onwards. Since December 2013, Türkiye has seen after all an alarmingly negative trend in relation to the rule of law and judicial independence. This trend escalated greatly in connection with the two-year state of emergency following the attempted coup d’etat. The extended period of emergency rule had a devastating effect on human rights and the rule of law in Türkiye and led to various repressive measures being adopted in the name of counterterrorism and protecting democracy. After 15th July 2016 more than 4500 Turkish judges and prosecutors were dismissed and around 2450 of them were imprisoned and many of them subjected to inhuman treatment during their detention.1Six years have passed and yet no meaningful steps have been taken to bring back the rule of law to Türkiyenor has the plight been relieved of the Turkish judges and prosecutors that have been subjected to these mass dismissals and arrests.

Platform for an Independent Judiciary in TurkeyThe extraordinary situation of violation of the independence of the judiciary in Turkey has induced all four European Associations of Judges to join together in their activities:

• The Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ),
• The European Association of Judges (EAJ),
•  Judges for Judges and
•  “Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés” (MEDEL)

And form a Platform: Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey.  

Since its creation, the Platform has been working together to promote the independence of the Judiciary in Turkey and the right to freedom and a fair trial to all the Judges and Prosecutors detained.

Here we gather the main documents issued by the Platform:     

Platform Letter Council Europe - 1-8-2016-4SG1.89 MB
Platform Letter Council Europe - 1-8-2016-4PACE1.9 MB
Situation of Turkish Judiciary - Platform Report417.14 KB
Turkey Platform Conclusions163.96 KB
Statement on the eve of the EU-Turkey leaders’ meeting in Varna114.84 KB
70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its observation in Turkey160.88 KB
Criminal conviction of Mr Murat Arslan117.89 KB
Platform Letter Secretary-General Council Europe - 15-07-2020
Statement of the Platform for in Independent Judiciary in Turkey (31th August 2020) (.pdf)157.11 KB

Letter to the EU officials demanding action to restore Rule of Law in Turkey

Links to the other member association webpages of the Platform:

The Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ)

The European Association of Judges (EAJ), Regional Group of the International Association of Judges (IAJ)

The Judges for Judges

MEDEL

For many years, judges and prosecutors have been unduly detained in Turkey, under the alleged pretext of being members of - or supported - armed terrorist organisations. The Turkish judiciary has been persistently disappointing their hope of a fair trial, which is unsurprising due to the fact that the Turkish judiciary is fully dependent on the Turkish President.

Many of our Turkish colleagues have long been expecting their liberation from this nightmare, or at least to get an affirmation from the highest European human rights guardian about the truth of what happened and how the violation of arbitrary detention took place.

Murat Arslan

Murat Arslan, the President of YARSAV, has written this letter to the President of MEDEL, from the Sincan prision, where he is unlawfully arrested since October 2016:

My very precious friend, the dangers to peace, the protection and enjoying of human rights, the understanding and practice of the rule of law directly harm human and natural life not only in Turkey but also in many countries of the world, including some western countries.

The call for peace, the struggle for the protection of human rights and access to a fair trial have never been more sought.

Unfortunately, the viewpoints of state powers other than the judiciary are more interest-oriented. On the other hand, we witness and live with sadness how the judiciary is instrumentalized and put into the service of the governments in some countries.

Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ) European Association of Judges (EAJ), Judges for Judges, Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL)

The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey (MEDEL, EAJ, AEAJ and Judges for Judges) sent a letter to Mrs. Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, the High Representative of the European Union, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Commissioner for HumanRights(CoE), demanding action to restore Rule of Law in Turkey and to end the witch-hunt against judges. You can read the letter below.

Honorable Madame, Honorable Sir, by the judgement of the Turkish Court of Cassation of 3rd November 2021, the conviction under charges of being a member of an armed terrorist organization (FETÖ/PDY) of Mr Murat Arslan, Turkish judge and president of the independent Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV), to 10 years imprisonment was upheld.

Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ) European Association of Judges (EAJ), Judges for Judges, Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL)

The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey (Medel, EAJ, AEAJ and Judges for Judges) sent a letter to the Council of Europe and to the EU Commission (DG Justice and DG Enlargement), stating that:

- continues to stand in solidarity behind the unlawfully and illegally detained and/or dismissed Turkish judges and prosecutors;

- strongly urges the European institutions to call on Turkey to provide guarantees and standards for a de iure and de facto independence of the judges and prosecutors as well as to take responsibility to demand so in their various partnerships and relations with Turkey;

MEDELThe Council of Administration of MEDEL, gathered today in Firenze, Italy, and online, unanimously approved a statement on occasion of the anniversary of the attempted coup in Turkey.
MEDEL demands the Turkish authorities:

- To immediately release Murat Arslan and all the unfairly imprisoned Magistrates, Lawyers and other citizens;

- To immediately and fully reinstate all Judges, Prosecutors and Lawyers who were unlawfully dismissed;

- To fully respect the Rule of Law and the independence of the Judiciary.

Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ) European Association of Judges (EAJ), Judges for Judges, Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL)

The European Court of Human Rights has once again rejected the third party intervention that MEDEL, AEJ and AEAJ had presented on the cases Murat Ulusoy vs. Turkey and 168 others (application 73062/16), Samil Sevinc vs. Turkey and 252 others (application 63634/16) and Ibrahim Tufan Ataman vs. Turkey and 53 others (application 14676/17), all regarding our Turkish colleagues that have been expelled.
 
The associations that form the Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey issued on that regard a statement you may find HERE.
 
The only way we understand this rejection is that the Court is already fully informed about the situation in Turkey and will soon decide in favour of our colleagues.
 

ENCJ

MEDEL welcomes the statement of ENCJ on the situation of the Judiciary in Turkey and reaffirms it's full commitment to defend the Rule of Law in Turkey and its solidarity with all the Turkish judges, prosecutors and all other citizens who have been unlawfully persecuted.

On 8 December 2016 the ENCJ General Assembly suspended the observer status of the High Council for Judges and Prosecutors of Turkey as it  no longer complied with the ENCJ Statutes and was no longer an institution which is independent of the executive and legislature ensuring the final responsibility for the support of the judiciary in the independent delivery of justice.

Four years later, unfortunately, the situation has not improved and has in fact deteriorated considerably. The Council for Judges and Prosecutors is a Council in name only, as none of its actions or decisions demonstrate any concern for the independence of the judiciary. Without a Council to protect and guarantee the independent delivery of justice in Turkey, there is little hope for the Rule of Law in Turkey in general and for access to independent, fair and impartial courts for all who come before the courts including Turkish citizens.  

EU

The European Commission has replied to the letter of the Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey (of which MEDEL is a member) of 31 August 2020. You can read it below:

Thank you for your letter dated 31 August 2020 and sent to Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, Vice President Vera Jourova, Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi and HR/VP Josep Borrell Fontelles.

I have been asked to reply. I would like to inform you that, in the context of the EU enlargement policy, the European Commission monitors closely developments and reports on the progress achieved by Turkey in a number of policy areas.

Joınt Statement on the arrest of 48 Lawyers and 7 Intern Lawyers in Ankara, Turkey (16.9.2020)MEDEL has co-signed a joint statement, published today, on the mass arrest of lawyers in Turkey. You can read it below:

Through the new “alternative bar associations” legislation and President Erdogan’s own words “Those who act as the lawyers of terrorists may not act like terrorists themselves. If they do so, there must be a price to pay”, which he said in the presence of judges and prosecutors in the new judicial year opening ceremony, the Turkish government had already signaled that a new phase in the persecution of lawyers was about to start. Only a few days after President Erdogan’s speech, today (11 September 2020), the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor has ordered the arrest of 48 lawyers, 7 trainee lawyers, 4 purged judges and a law graduate, for being “members of a terrorist organisation”

MEDEL

MEDEL issued a statement on the death of the Turkish Lawyer Ebru Timtik. You can find it below:

The death of Ebru Timtik, after 238 days of hunger strike, adds one more life to the many that have already been quashed since the upheaval of democracy in Turkey, and confirms that all members of the Turkish legal community (judges, lawyers, academics) who keep working to defend the rule of law remain “enemies” to fight without mercy.

Ebru Timtik was sentenced to more than 13 years of prison for alleged membership in a terrorist organization, simply on the basis of her professional activity. She never stopped to fight against this injustice, claiming her right to have a fair trial, a fundamental guarantee that is now denied to Turkish citizens.

Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ) European Association of Judges (EAJ), Judges for Judges, Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL)

The Platform for an independent Judiciary in Turkey has just issued a statement about the situation in Turkey. 
 
It was sent to the Turkish government, the Council of Europe and European Union institutions.

Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ) European Association of Judges (EAJ), Judges for Judges, Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL)

The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey, of which MEDEL is a member, has released a statement, marking another anniversary of the attempted coup d'Etat in Turkey.
 
A similar letter has been also sent to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

TURKEY – FOUR YEARS OF DISMANTLEMENT OF RULE OF LAW

Four years ago, on July 15th 2016, a failed coup d’état in Turkey set in motion an unprecedented and orchestrated campaign to destroy the Rule of Law and the independence of the Judiciary.

MEDEL

MEDEL has sent on may 18th two letters to the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Parliament, about the situation in Turkey and the recent events regarding the suspension of the President of the Turkish Judicial Syndicate, Ms. Ayse Pehlivan.

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