Turkey: Protecting democracy and human rights

Statement by the Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland
Secretary General Strasbourg 22 July 2016
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Turkey: Protecting democracy and human rights

“I have now received formal notice from the Turkish Government confirming that the decision to impose a three-month state of emergency, in response to the failed military coup, may involve measures that derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights.

“The possibility of temporary derogation is guaranteed to all Council of Europe member States under Article 15 of the Convention, and applies ‘in times of public emergency threatening the life of a nation’.

“As the European Court of Human Rights has made clear, any derogations must be proportionate to the situation and in no circumstances can a state derogate from Article 2: the right to life, Article 3: prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment and Article 7: no punishment without law.

Anyone claiming to be the victim of a violation of the Convention by Turkey as a result of new measures adopted under the state of emergency will have the right to bring their case to the European Court of Human Rights. The Court will then decide on whether the action in question is in conformity with the Convention.

The Council of Europe continues to follow developments in Turkey very closely. I have been in close contact with the authorities since the failed coup, including Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu. We recognise the right of our member States to respond to threats to their security. Our focus now is on the protection of democracy and human rights, on which Turkey’s future stability depends.”