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


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

murat.arslan2The president of the Portuguese Judges Association published an article about Murat Arslan in one of the main newspapers in Portugal, which can be found in THIS LINK

Here is the translation in English.

Murat Arslan was arrested on 19 October 2016. He is in a prison cell in Sincan, Ankara, with 16 other detainees: 8 beds and the floor to sleep, a carpet to pray, one shower, one washbasin and two toilets. 20 liters of water a day to wash clothes and body, half an hour a week for visits, though a thick dirty glass, half an hour a month to hug the wife Sevilay and the sons, Burak Emre and Yigit Eren, 16 and 13 years old, a phone call every two weeks, an hour a month to play football, and a weekly order of books and canteen food.

Platform for an Independent Judiciary in TurkeyYesterday, Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize Winner Murat Arslan, President of the Independent Turkish Judges Association YARSAV, has been convicted under charges of being member of an armed terrorist organization (namely of being active member of FETÖ/PDY) and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Mr Murat Arslan is a Turkish judge and president of the Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV). He has been arrested in October 2016 and remains since then in (pre-trial) detention.

He was awarded in October 2017 the Václav-Havel Human Rights prize by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Murat ArslanToday, January 18th, 2019, was held the last session of the trial against Murat Arslan, unlawfully accused and persecuted by the Turkish authorities and arrested since October 19th, 2016.

In today’s session, the court issued the decision, sentencing Murat Arslan to 10 years of imprisonment.

The sentence issued today by the Turkish court was not a surprise. The whole procedure before the Turkish courts was not transparent and didn’t meet the criteria of a due process of law.

Murat Arslan faces very difficult conditions of detention. He is in an overcrowded cell, with 16 other inmates: 8 sleep on the floor, 8 have a bed and there aren’t enough toilets. 

Platform for an Independent Judiciary in TurkeyMarking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Europe (of which MEDEL is a member) published a letter today, remembering the situation in Turkey and the violation of basic human rights in that country, mainly in what regards the right to a fair trial and an independent Judiciary.

Statement by the Associazione Nazionale Magistrati following the news on the death in detention of Teoman Gökçe, former member of the HSYKAssociazione Nazionale Magistrati adopted the statement following the news on the death in detention of Teoman Gökçe, former member of the HSYK.

While expressing the Italian judges’ and prosecutors’ solidarity with his family and the Turkish colleagues still in detention or removed from their positions, the ANM asks the Italian and European institutions to intervene and urge Turkey to reestablish the rule of law. You can read the statement below in Italian.

EUEveryone in Europe is aware that 150 journalists are detained in Turkey and that the majority of them have no idea what the indictments are. All judgments issued to date fundamentally contradict the rights and principles which form the (common) basis of European law.

Additionally, over 25% of all Turkish judges and prosecutors, namely more than 3,000, are also facing pre-trial detention.

murat.arslan.webMurat Arslan: "This trial is a revenge against YARSAV". Report about the first day of trial in the criminal proceedings against the chairman of YARSAV, the banned Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors. 

Murat Arslan began his career in law at the Turkish National Court of Accounts (Sayıştay). He changed paths in 2005 when he became a reporter judge for the Constitutional Court. He first became active in YARSAV, the Turkish association of judges and prosecutors founded in 2006, as a member of the board. Later he became the vice-president of the association, and was elected president in 2011. He was reelected several times and was the chairman of YARSAV until the organization was banned by an emergency decree after the attempted coup d’état on 15.07.2015. Murat Arslan had already been transferred back to the national Court of Accounts in 2015. After the attempted coup d’état, he was dismissed and from 19.10.2016 on he has been in detention pending trial.

Palazzo Quirinale (Photo: Wikipedia)Signor Presidente, le continue violazioni dei diritti umani e le ripetute epurazioni in Turchia destano grande preoccupazione.

Magistrati, giornalisti, avvocati, insegnanti, funzionari pubblici, medici, militari sono stati licenziati, in molte occasioni arrestati, e ancora si trovano in stato di detenzione in assenza di contestazioni puntuali delle condotte a loro attribuite e in uno stato di sospensione dei diritti difensivi.

Questa situazione viola i principi fondamentali dello Stato di diritto ed è stata ripetutamente segnalata da tutta la Comunità internazionale.

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

The assessment of the status of the justice system in Turkey clearly proves that the independence of the judiciary is abolished.

The Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey refers to its previous declarations and to the attached summary on the developments and their results.

It is urgent to return to the rule of law and to bring back to the Turkish people the fundamental rights of which they had been deprived.

The Platform urges

I.) the Turkish authorities

• to end the pressure which is directly exercised on Turkish judges and prosecutors, who are in charge of the procedures subsequent to the terrible attempt of the coup d´etat, and indirectly by influencing the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors.

• to reestablish the procedural rules, which are necessary to guarantee a fair procedure,

• to make the observation of the court hearings by international observers possible

MEDELLe glas de la démocratie ne cesse de sonner en Turquie et le référendum constitutionnel tendant à donner les pleins pouvoirs à Recep Tayyip Edogan le fera résonner une nouvelle fois.

La fin de l’état de droit démocratique en TURQUIE

Tout se passe dans un contexte de répression arbitraire allant crescendo depuis le coup d’état raté du 15 juillet pour atteindre une ampleur considérable : près de 45 000 personnes ont été arrêtées (dont 3800 magistrats, 300 avocats, 140 journalistes, des élus, notamment 12 députés, des universitaires...), plus de 150 000 ont été limogées dont un quart des magistrats en poste à la mi-juillet. Ces chiffres -pouvant varier selon les sources mais restant toujours dans le même ordre de grandeur- traduisent une volonté de faire régner la peur bien au-delà de la sphère « complotiste ».

MEDELAfter prosecutor SeyfettinYigit who allegedly committed suicide and died in prison, another Turkish Judge passed away after being purged.

We mourn for our colleague Mehmet Tosun (29) who passed away on March 6th 2017.

Like many other judges, he was dismissed and detained under severe conditions after the attempted coup with no evidence and solid reason. Although he spent his last months at hospital due to his heavy health problems, he was deprived of even his assets and personal savings, access to his personal bank accounts which were crucial for his medical treatment which obviously costed enormous amount of money for a dismissed person with no social security.

He was a rapporteur judge at the Council of State of Turkey.

He suffered from an autoimmune illness. According to his lawyer, Hüseyin Aygin, Mehmet Tosun was mistreated in jail and his state of health deteriorated.

MEDELThe Italian lawyer Barbara Spinelli was stopped on the frontier, in Istanbul airport, while she was travelling to Ankara to participate, as a speaker, to the International Conference “The judicial system under the state of emergency in Turkey”, organised by the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights.

Following a night of administrative detention, the lawyer Barbara Spinelli was expelled and banned from Turkey, and returned to Bologna, Italy, being considered dangerous for public order for her activity of international observer on Human Rights.

MEDEL expresses its full solidarity to the lawyer Barbara Spinelli for the unjust treatment suffered related to her professional activity and reiterates its deep concerns for the prolongation of the state of emergency in Turkey, in derogation to the fundamental rights recognised by the European and international community, which hits in particular lawyers, journalists, civil servants and magistrates committed to democracy and Rule of Law.

Venice CommissionTurkey - Opinion on Emergency Decree Laws N°s667-676 adopted following the failed coup of 15 July 2016, adopted by the Venice Commission at its 109th Plenary Session, 9-10 December 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENCJThe ENCJ unites the national institutions in the Member States of the European Union which are independent of the executive and legislature, and which are responsible for the support of the Judiciaries in the independent delivery of justice. It aims to improve cooperation between, and good mutual understanding amongst, the Councils for the Judiciary and the members of the Judiciary of the European Union (or candidate) Member States.

It is a condition of membership, and for the status of observer, that institutions are independent of the executive and legislature and ensure the final responsibility for the support of the judiciary in the independent delivery of justice.

The ENCJ became concerned that the procedures adopted by the High Council for Judges and Prosecutors of Turkey (HSYK) indicated that this condition was no longer satisfied.

The General Assembly of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) gathered in The Hague on 8th December 2016 to discuss and decide on the position of the HSYK in the Association.

The ENCJ has been following developments in the judiciary in Turkey since 2014 and has expressed its concern both in its correspondence with the HSYK and publicly in the Declaration of the Hague (June 2015), the Declaration of Warsaw (June 2016) and more recently after the mass-suspension of judges and prosecutors and again following their dismissal.

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