European rights court has rejected 25,000 petitions from purge victims

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has rejected a total of 25,000 applications submitted by Turks who are victims of an immense purge carried out by the Turkish government following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, demanding the exhaustion of domestic remedies in Turkey first, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15 of last year through government decrees issued as part of a state of emergency.

A ruling by the ECtHR in June that turned down an application by a fired Turkish teacher on the grounds that he had not yet exhausted all domestic remedies became a precedent for other applications.

The European court referred to a commission that was announced by the Turkish government to review the situation of state workers who were dismissed by government decrees following the failed coup as a means of solution for Gökhan Köksal, a Turkish primary school teacher who had submitted a petition for the court to hear his case.

The idea of the foundation of a commission was proposed to Ankara by Thorbjørn Jagland, the secretary-general of the Council of Europe. Many lawyers has been critical of Jagland for giving the Turkish government the opportunity to play with justice and never close cases.

“Mr. Jagland will be 85 or 90 when this story reaches the ECtHR. We will not be able to even tell him: Did you see what you did,” said Kerem Altıparmak, a well known human rights lawyer, in a tweet concerning Jagland’s response to two dismissed teachers.

The ECtHR previously came under fire for rejecting applications concerning post-coup worker purges in Turkey on the grounds that domestic remedies had not been exhausted.

The German Bar Association (DAV) asked the ECtHR to ease the legal conditions necessary to accept applications from Turkey.

DAV Chief Ulrich Schellenberg, who criticized the rejection of applications from Turkey, said there was no working state of law in the country and that Turkey could not be compared to other European countries in terms of state of law principles.

Schellenberg added that the condition of exhausting domestic remedies had to be considered in a different light if one-third of judges and prosecutors were arrested in a short period of time and free advocacy could not be conducted due to oppression in a country.

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