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European Court Orders Turkey to Address Human Rights Violations in Landmark Decision

December 19, 2023 – In a significant development, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has notified the Turkish government of 1,000 cases similar to the landmark ‘Yüksel Yalçınkaya’ ruling, signaling potential mass human rights violation decisions in the near future. This move comes as a call for Turkey to adhere to legal standards and rectify systemic issues within its judiciary.

The cases in question involve individuals convicted of ‘membership in a terrorist organization’ for using the ByLock app. The ECHR’s notification covers complaints filed between 2019 and 2023, alleging violations of the right to a fair trial and the principle of no punishment without law, as outlined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Legal experts suggest that this batch of 1,000 cases is just the beginning, with violation decisions likely to be issued en masse. The Turkish judiciary is under pressure to comply with international standards, as failure to do so could see the number of pending ECHR cases skyrocket.

Key legal voices have weighed in on the situation:

Sedat Ünal, a prosecutor dismissed by decree, emphasizes that the ECHR is moving towards quick resolution of these cases. The court has set a precedent with the Yalçınkaya decision, which could lead to speedy conclusions for similar cases.

Attorney Hatice Yıldız calls for an end to judicial chaos in Turkey, stressing the non-viability of ignoring the Yalçınkaya ruling. Yıldız warns of the repercussions of non-compliance with the ECHR’s decisions.

Human rights lawyer Hakan Kaplankaya highlights that withdrawing from the European Convention would not absolve Turkey from complying with the court’s decisions.

Kemal Karanfil, a judge dismissed by decree, criticizes the Turkish judiciary’s alignment with government policies, leading to biased rulings.

Attorney Osman Zerey predicts a swift resolution of over 7,000 pending applications before the ECHR, following the principles established in the Yalçınkaya decision. Zerey underscores the need for Turkish courts to realign with legal and constitutional mandates.

This move by the ECHR marks a critical juncture for Turkey’s adherence to international human rights standards, with the potential to reshape its legal landscape significantly.

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