546 cases against Turkey, ECHR demands clarification

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has asked Ankara for clarifications on 546 complaints it received concerning the provisional arrest of judges in Turkey after the alleged coup in July 2016.

"On different dates, the 546 complainants, all of whom were judges, were suspended on the pretext that they were members of the organization," Fathallah Gulen, whom Turkey considers "terrorist", were arrested and placed in detention under investigation, the European Court of Human Rights said in a statement.

According to the court, these judges were placed under provisional arrest and then pre-trial detention.

"The objections filed by the complainants against these decisions have been rejected and include individual cases which the Turkish Constitutional Court has deemed unacceptable." In the meantime, judges were accused of belonging to a terrorist organization, and criminal proceedings relating to these charges were still ongoing.

The European Court of Human Rights referred these complaints to Ankara, for which it could make written observations.

The court shall then consider accepting such observations and, if necessary, announce its decisions within several months.

After the alleged coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish authorities launched an unprecedented purge campaign against alleged supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but also against Kurdish opponents and journalists, where tens of thousands were arrested.

In mid-April, the European Court of Human Rights sentenced Turkey to pay 10,000 euros in compensation for moral damage to a judge in the Turkish Constitutional Court that was suspended after the coup attempt "solely on suspicion of belonging to a criminal organization."

The European Court considered the arrest to be a violation of the rights; to the right to liberty and security enshrined in the European Charter on Human Rights.

In 1 March, some 3,250 applications were pending in the European Court concerning measures taken by Ankara after the attempted coup, most of which were linked to illegal arrests.

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