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Urgent Call for Justice, Human Rights, and Unity: The Impact of the ECHR Decision on Turkey’s Future

We address all those who value justice, human rights, and the future of our country as advocates for justice, human rights, and the future of our nation.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) made a decision of great importance for Turkey yesterday (September 26, 2023) in the Yalçınkaya/Turkey case. This decision reaffirms the fundamental principle of justice enshrined in Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, making it clear that individuals who have used Bylock, have money in Bank Asya, are members of associations and unions, and have attended discussion meetings should not be unjustly labeled as terrorists. Furthermore, the decision also concluded that the right to a fair trial under Article 6 and the freedom of association under Article 11 of the Convention had been violated.

According to the information provided in the Court’s decision, over 100,000 individuals have been accused of being members of a terrorist organization due to the allegation of using Bylock. Additionally, those who opened new accounts at Bank Asya between January 2014 and May 2015, totaling 465,000 accounts, have either been investigated or prosecuted. The magnitude of these numbers underscores the urgency of addressing this issue comprehensively.

This decision has exposed numerous violations, including unjust persecution of individuals associated with the Gülen movement. It is crucial to emphasize that these violations go far beyond actions such as using the Bylock communication application or conducting transactions at Bank Asya, and that ordinary legal activities cannot be deemed as acts of terrorism. The arbitrary and unjust application of terrorism charges in Turkey has ensnared millions of innocent citizens and has led to an unprecedented social and legal crisis, especially as we approach the centenary of the Republic.

The Republic of Turkey stands at the threshold of celebrating its 100th year with a significant challenge. This senseless witch hunt that has targeted a wide range of individuals, including the elderly, the disabled, women, and children, must come to an end. Healing the deep wounds in our society, returning to the principles of equal citizenship, re-establishing legal security, and strengthening social peace are imperative.

Furthermore, it is essential to approach this decision with a perspective that goes beyond humanitarian costs, taking into account social polarization, worsening economic conditions, and even international political developments. Finding a solution that benefits both the victims and Turkey is vital.

It must be recognized that the failure to implement the ECHR decision will hold our legal system hostage and lead to an irreversible darkness. Additionally, it should be remembered that justice and human rights are values that cannot be debated in terms of any economic cost.

On the other hand, it is important to consider the potential benefits of implementing this decision or resolving this systemic crisis:

Strengthening the Rule of Law: Effective implementation of the ECHR decision will increase legal certainty, support the rule of law, and restore confidence in our legal system, thus promoting social stability.

Establishing Social Peace: A fair resolution will reunite society, mend social divisions, and open the way for unity and solidarity.

Positive Economic Outlook: Restoring confidence in our legal system will stimulate both domestic and foreign investments, ultimately benefiting our economy.

Ending the Climate of Fear: Rectifying these injustices will mark the beginning of a new era where fear and intimidation can no longer silence our voices. This will promote open dialogue, reconciliation, and societal healing.

The voices of those who love their country and believe in universal legal values are crucial in shaping Turkey’s future. We sincerely await your support in raising awareness of the critical importance of the effective and swift implementation of the ECHR decision. It is time to engage in constructive dialogue and take action for a balanced solution that upholds justice, human rights, and the well-being of our society.

Together, we can build a brighter, more equitable future for Turkey where justice prevails, human rights are protected, and our shared values of democracy and freedom reign. As we stand on the threshold of the Republic’s centenary, the path we choose will determine the legacy we leave to future generations.

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Nurullah Albayrak is lawyer and columnist at TR724.com

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