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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Turkey to Suspend European Human Rights Convention Following Failed Coup

© Yagiz Karahan
© Yagiz Karahan / Reuters

Turkey’s state of emergency means temporary suspension of the European Convention on Human Rights, the deputy prime minister has said, adding this is expected to last for a month and a half. The state of emergency in Turkey follows a failed military coup.

"We want to end the state of emergency as soon as possible. We believe [it could end within] one to one and a half months. I do not need a second extension,” said Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus, as cited by Turkish broadcaster NTV.

When, and if, the temporary suspension is lifted depends somewhat on whether Erdogan wants to continue the charade of seeking EU membership. It runs counter to his long-term goal to declare himself as Caliph and rule with an iron fist. 

His immediate goal is to eliminate opposition to his party and his plan. While he pretends that this is all to protect democracy, in reality he is using it to subvert democracy. There can be no democracy when those opposed to your policies and direction are imprisoned. Meanwhile, his 'democratic' government, even after the suspension is lifted, will do whatever Erdogan wants it to do because they know what happens to anyone who opposes him.

According to Kurtulmus, there were “structural and individual” intelligence failures during the coup attempt. He added that the government is planning to restructure the army.

As a result, the European Convention on Human Rights will be “temporarily suspended” due to the state of emergency, he added.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag later said the state of emergency will not negatively affect the economy or investments.

On Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a state of emergency for three months following a coup attempt. It took effect Thursday morning.

Threat to democracy

"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, adding that EU has no right to criticize the decision.

The best way to eliminate the threat to democracy in Turkey is to get rid of Erdogan; he is far more dangerous than the military or any political or ideological opposition.

Under the emergency measure, the Turkish president and his ministers are allowed to bypass the parliament in passing new laws. Rights and freedoms in the country may also be limited or suspended if the government decides to do so, the news agency explained.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has urged Ankara to lift the state of emergency in the country as quickly as possible, Reuters reported.

"We continue to expect that Turkey will adhere to the rule of law and that it will lift the state of emergency after three months as planned. Everything else would exacerbate tensions inside Turkey and harm Turkey itself," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, the German FM told the media he did not have full confidence that the state of emergency was an appropriate response to the failed coup.

Steinmeier said the Turkish government should prosecute only those proven to be involved in illegal acts, but not their political opponents.

The military’s attempt to seize power in the country took place on July 15, when Erdogan was on holiday in the Turkish resort of Marmaris. Thousands of people took to the streets of Ankara and Istanbul. Erdogan said that 246 government supporters were killed. At least 24 coup plotters were also killed, officials said.

Serious questions

Tens of thousands have already been detained or lost their jobs following the failed coup, with some 60,000 people suspected of backing the coup attempt being investigated. The large-scale purge of state institutions has affected judiciary officials, civil servants, law enforcement and education workers.

There are two serious problems with this purge: 

1. 60,000 people could not possibly have plotted the coup attempt without the government intelligence agency knowing about it. It's absurd to think otherwise unless everyone in the intelligence ministry has been drunk for the past month. 

2. That same intelligence ministry could not possibly have compiled a list of 60,000+ names of conspirators since the coup attempt. The list had to have been compiled long before the coup. In that respect, Erdogan was either just waiting for an excuse to purge everyone on the list, or he was possibly complicit in the events that gave him the opportunity to do. so

Erdogan won’t miss the chance to use the coup to “strengthen his grip on Turkey,” Ali Rizk, a Middle East expert, told RT.

He warned that “there is going to be a big clampdown” which “is going to intensify” in the country. 

“This could indeed transform Turkey from ‘a beacon of democracy’ into a police state. With these particular developments taking place, I do expect that Turkey will walk more and more on the way of an authoritarian police state,” Rizk said.