The State of Emergency (OHAL) announced on July 21, 2016 following the military coup attempt and extended for seven times with three-month periods has ended on July 19, 2018. However, nothing has changed – for the latest omnibus bill No. 7145 replaced the State of Emergency (OHAL) with a Permanent State of Emergency (SOHAL) (See Xtra Bulletin No.2). The State of Emergency, on the other hand, left two years full of custodies, arrests, preventions, dismissals, censorship, pressure, torture, shutdowns, impunity and rights violations behind.
160 thousand people were taken into custody, more than 70 thousand people were arrested and investigations were opened against 155 thousand people with allegations of ‘armed terrorist organization’ membership; according to official records. According to the records of the Human Rights Common Platform (IHOP), however, the number of arrests exceeded 228 thousand; legal actions were taken against more than 20 thousand social media users. More than 134 thousand public officers were dismissed; 70 newspapers, 25 radio channels, 20 magazines and 18 TV channels were shut down. Thousands of associations were sealed. Strikes, press statements, marches were banned. MPs were arrested; trustees were assigned to municipalities.
As the country was under the governance of the statutory decrees issued during this time – without legislative or judicial monitoring – all authority was therefore effectively gathered within one individual: Erdoğan. The “Emergency Decrees” involved legislative regulations besides measures against individuals and institutions. Hundreds of amendments were made on at least 154 law articles and most of those amendments are not limited to the State of Emergency period; they are permanent. In short, the State of Emergency has been used as a weapon against all individuals and institutions, all opposing views and everyone else searching for their rights – outside of its initial purpose of announcement.
Here are the 31 Statutory Decrees issued under the two-year State of Emergency with some of the corresponding amendments such as the establishment of new institutions, shutdown of existing institutions, addition of extra clauses to articles, additions and removals from existing articles as well as transference of authority:
1- Decree Law No.: KHK/667 (July 23, 2016)
– 2342 institutions were shut down, including 1078 health and education institutes, 1229 foundations and associations, 19 professional organizations and 15 foundation universities.
– Custody period was increased to 30 days during the State of Emergency.
– All public officers were allowed to be dismissed with administrative action only. This amendment includes members of the judiciary.
– Those who make decisions and act within the Statutory Decrees under the State of Emergency were excluded from related legal, administrative, financial or criminal liability resulting from their duty.
– Even if the acts of the administration based on the Statutory Decrees under the State of Emergency are evidently against the law, administrative courts were not allowed to issue a stay of execution.
2- Decree Law No.: KHK/668 (July 27, 2016)
– 151 press/media institutions were shut down including 3 news agencies, 16 TV channels, 45 newspapers (36 local newspapers), 15 magazines and 29 publishing houses.
– Authorities of the Public Prosecutor and the security forces were significantly extended. Judicial supervision on measures taken within investigations were weakened and rendered dysfunctional. Prosecutors were given the authority to be able to issue search and arrest warrants as well as order to identify, tape and record communications without prior court decree. Security forces were given the authority to confiscate documents belonging to those under judicial search without prior judicial decree.
– The Prosecutor’s Office was allowed to be able to prevent the suspect under custody from meeting his lawyer, from the lawyer to examine the case file and to take samples from the file.
– The scope of legal and criminal exclusion of liability brought with the previous Statutory Decree was extended to include the condition of “suppressing terrorist activities on and following the night of the coup.”
– 1684 soldiers were dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces, with 149 generals/admirals. Gendarmerie General Command and Coast Guard Command were bound to the Ministry of the Interior.
3- Decree Law No.: KHK/669 (July 31, 2016)
– The required periods to open investigations predicted by the legislation on public officers dismissed from duty due to national security reasons became no longer obligatory during the State of Emergency.
– Bankruptcies were allowed to be able to be postponed during the State of Emergency.
– 1389 military personnel were dismissed. Military academies and schools were shut down; a University for National Defense was founded. Structure of the Supreme Military Council was changed. The condition for the Chief of General Staff to have served as force commander was removed. Military hospitals were assigned to the Ministry of Health.
4- Decree Law No.: KHK/670 (August 17, 2016)
– 2692 public officers were dismissed, including 2360 security personnel. Those dismissed will also not receive written notices.
– All public and private institutions and organizations were made obliged to provide all personal information on personnel with investigations conducted against them, as well as the personal information of their spouses and children, to the authorized institute demanding the information on time.
5- Decree Law No.: KHK/671 (August 17, 2016)
– Telecommunication Communication Presidency (TIB) was shut down and its authorities was assigned to the Communication and Information Technologies Authority (BTK). Freedom of communication, which could only be able to be restricted with a judicial decree in accordance with the Constitution, was allowed to be restricted by BTK without prior judicial decree.
– As prisons are full with convicts, the period of supervised release was increased from one year to two years in order to make space for new arrests in prisons. The period of conditioned release was decreased from two thirds to half of the initial sentence.
6- Decree Law No.: KHK/672 (September 1, 2016)
– More than 42,000 people were dismissed from public institutions, with 28,163 from the Ministry of National Education, 2,018 from the Ministry of Health and related organizations as well as 2,346 from universities.
7- Decree Law No.: KHK/673 (September 1, 2016)
– Public workers whose contracts were annulled due to connections with terrorist organizations will not be able to be employed in other public institutions. Licenses of workplace physicians and occupational health physicians with revealed connections with terrorist organizations were revoked.
8- Decree Law No.: KHK/674 (September 1, 2016)
– Ministry of the Interior was given the authority to dismiss mayors and assign trustees to replace them.
– All academics employed within the 33/A staff (secured staff) and assigned within the Faculty Member Training Programme (ÖYP) in public universities were transferred to the 50/D staff, losing their work security.
– Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) was made responsible of companies with trustees assigned within the State of Emergency. Besides legal entities, trustees were allowed to be able to be assigned to natural people as well.
– Governors were allowed to benefit from the armed forces in potential mass events.
9- Decree Law No.: KHK/675 (October 29, 2016)
– 10,131 people were dismissed from public service, including 1,262 academics.
– 15 press/media organizations were shut down; including 10 newspapers, 2 news agencies and 3 magazines.
10- Decree Law No.: KHK/676 (October 29, 2016)
– Defendants were allowed to be defended by a maximum of three lawyers during prosecution. Meetings with lawyers were restricted as well. The client/lawyer meetings were allowed to be visually and auditorily recorded and the prosecution was allowed to continue without the presence of a lawyer.
– Judges were allowed to deny the claim to ‘listen the witness or expert referred to by the defendant during the hearing,’ which is one of the basic principles of the right to fair trial.
– Rectorship elections at universities were revoked. The President of Republic was authorized to assign rectors, selecting among three candidates offered by the Council of Higher Education (YÖK).
– Security investigation and archive research was made obligatory to begin working in the public sector.
– “The charge of illegal organization propaganda” was added to the conditions of dismissal from public service.
– The Law of Foreigners was amended with the addition of the expression, “Those having connections with terrorist organizations will be able to be deported – even if they possess a status of international protection.”
11- Decree Law No.: KHK/677 (November 22, 2016)
– 375 associations and 9 media institutions were shut down.
– 15,726 people were dismissed from public service, including 242 academics.
– Those under arrest due to “terror” charges were banned from entering all examinations offered by educational institutes as well as other public institutions.
12- Decree Law No.: KHK/678 (November 22, 2016)
– The bans on strikes in inner-city mass transportation and banking sector, which were revoked by the Constitutional Court in 2014, were re-enacted. Strikes in municipalities were allowed to be postponed for 60 days. Municipal services were allowed to be provided by another municipality to replace the service of municipalities under trustee administration.
– Guest records in hotels were required to immediately be submitted to the security forces when deemed necessary.
13- Decree Law No.: KHK/679 (January 6, 2017)
– 83 associations were shut down.
– 8,400 people were dismissed from public service, including 631 academics.
14- Decree Law No.: KHK/680 (January 6, 2017)
– Amendments were made on the principles of investigation and prosecution of members of the high judiciary. Public lawsuits previously opened at the Court of Cassation General Assembly of Criminal Chambers in cases of personal charges against members of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) were decided to be heard at the related chamber at the Court of Cassation instead of the General Assembly. On the other hand, the authority to open investigations or initiate prosecutions on personal charges against judges and prosecutors was assigned to the Provincial Public Prosecutor’s Office and the local assize court at the service location of the defendant.
– Council of Ministers was allowed to decide to denaturalize citizens residing in other countries in case they are not back within three months after being summoned back to Turkey.
– Broadcasts against bans were allowed to be temporarily blocked by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK). In case the disobedience continues, the broadcast licenses were allowed to be revoked as well. This provision was indicated to be effective not only during the State of Emergency but afterwards as well.
– An addition was made to the Press Law: “Media service providers can not present terrorist acts in a way that would serve the interests of terrorism.”
– The police was allowed to be able to reach identity information on Internet subscribers and make online research. Access providers, hosting service providers and content providers were obliged to submit the information that’s asked from them.
15- Decree Law No.: KHK/681 (January 6, 2017)
– An amendment was made on the Internal Service Law of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK): Authorities like the classification of military officers, identification of general staff and their service periods, as well as conducting disciplinary investigations were taken from the Chief of General Staff and was assigned to the Minister of National Defense.
16- Decree Law No.: KHK/682 (January 23, 2017)
– Amendments were made in the disciplinary provisions within the Security, Gendarmerie and Coast Guard units. The amendment stated, “Disciplinary penalties given directly or by authorized disciplinary councils will only be able to be issued in accordance with the provisions in this Statutory Decree,” which is against the Constitution.
17- Decree Law No.: KHK/683 (January 23, 2017)
– 2 TV channels were shut down.
– 367 people were dismissed from public service.
– Doctorate applications of those facing investigations were frozen.
18- Decree Law No.: KHK/684 (January 23, 2017)
– The maximum custody period was decreased to seven days and was allowed to be extended for another seven days by the Prosecutor’s Office. However, the custody period of those taken into custody before the decree remained in 30 days maximum.
– Shares and securities owned by commercial institutions belonging to public entities were decided to be assigned to the Treasury Fund. After the decree was issued, many corporations like Ziraat Bank, BOTAŞ Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS), Turkish Petroleum (TPAO), Turkish Post (PTT), Borsa Istanbul (BIST) and Türksat Satellite Communications and Cable TV Operations Company (TÜRKSAT) were assigned to the Fund.
– The Central Bank was allowed to conduct some service procurements without tender.
19- Decree Law No.: KHK/685 (January 23, 2017)
– A seven-people commission was established to examine complaints against the Statutory Decrees under the State of Emergency. It was made possible to file an action for nullity against the commission decrees as well. Three of the commission members were decided to be determined by the Prime Minister, one member to be assigned by the Ministries of Justice and Interior and two members by the Council of Judges and Prosecutors. The commission has concluded 30 thousand applications by August 2018 among the total 118 thousand applications received; accepting only 1,900 of them. More than 88 thousand objections are still awaiting evaluation.
20- Decree Law No.: KHK/686 (February 7, 2017)
– 4,464 people were dismissed from public service, including 330 academics.
21- Decree Law No.: KHK/687 (February 9, 2017)
– The Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) was prevented from monitoring and applying sanctions on broadcasting institutions not complying with the election bans.
– A regulation was made so that the licenses and rights of private radio and television channels, which were previously shut down due to the State of Emergency, would be put on sale.
– Even the requirement of using a winter tire was brought with an emergency decree.
– An amendment was made on the Law on Banking: Actions such as credit extension, credit use, installment, guarantees and restructuring were no longer considered “embezzlement.”
22- Decree Law No.: KHK/688 (March 29, 2017)
– 416 previously dismissed public personnel were re-employed.
23- Decree Law No.: KHK/689 (April 29, 2017)
– 3,974 people were dismissed from public service, 731 previously dismissed public personnel were re-employed.
– 14 associations, 1 newspaper, 1 magazine, 18 foundations and 13 health institutions were shut down. Five previously shutdown associations were reopened.
– The expression “Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ/PDY)” included in the Decree Law No.: KHK/670 was extended with the expression, “…or other terrorist organizations.” Thus, a legal basis was provided retroactively on some sanctions applied with past emergency decrees.
24- Decree Law No.: KHK/690 (April 29, 2017)
– Authority in the investigation of Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) was taken from the Council and was assigned to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Cassation.
– Travel of rectors abroad were bound to permission by the Council of Higher Education (YÖK).
– Administrative sanctions to be able to be applied by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) to media service providers were extended to involve abstract principles such as, “opposition to the national and moral values of the society as well as general morality” and “serving the interests of terrorist organizations.” Wedding shows on radio and TV channels were banned.
– Equivalence of graduation diplomas received from higher education institutes, universities and centers abroad, that were identified by the Ministry of National Education to have connections with illegal organizations, was annulled.
– Staff openings were made available for 7 thousand bazaar and village guards.
25- Decree Law No.: KHK/691 (June 22, 2017)
– One clause was added to the Military Law. Police officers identified to be draft evaders and deserters while having connections with illegal organizations were required to be forced with arms to perform their military service.
26- Decree Law No.: KHK/692 (July 14, 2017)
– 7,348 people were dismissed from public service; including 2,303 people from the Security General Directorate and 1,486 people from the Ministry of the Interior. 263 people were re-employed in public service. One association that was previously shut down with an emergency decree was reopened.
27- Decree Law No.: KHK/693 (August 25, 2017)
– 928 people were dismissed from public service, including 120 academics. 60 people, who were previously dismissed from public service with an emergency decree, were re-employed.
– 3 associations, 2 newspapers and 1 news agency were shut down. One association, one radio channel and one foundation that was previously shut down with an emergency decree were reopened.
28- Decree Law No.: KHK/694 (August 25, 2017)
– Some authorities of the Prime Minister on intelligence structuring and public officers were assigned to the President of the Republic. The Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) was bound to the President as well. Investigations against the MIT Undersecretary was made to require permission from the President.
– Investigations were allowed to be opened against MPs due to criminal charges before or after elections under the authority of Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office or an assize court. In case of such an investigation, it was decided to be conducted by the Chief Public Prosecutor himself or a deputy.
– In case previously dismissed academics are reemployed, their assignments will be made outside of Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir as well as their previous workplace. Therefore, even if the legal contradiction of their dismissal is identified, no results will be obtained.
– Courts were allowed to issue decrees without the mandatory defendant.
– Maximum arrest period was increased from 5 years to 7 years.
– Amendments were made concerning the judicial environments of regional courts and on the Witness Protection Act as well as the application of secret witnessing. Public officers on duty as secret investigators were allowed to be able to testify without the presence of the defendant and the defendant lawyer. Thus, defendants will no longer have the opportunity to reply and ask questions to the witness on statements against them.
– 32,014 staff openings were made in the Security General Directorate as well as 4 thousand judges and prosecutors with 2 thousand more judge candidates at the Ministry of Justice.
28- Decree Law No.: KHK/695 (December 24, 2017)
– 2,766 people were dismissed from public service; 115 public officers previously dismissed were re-employed.
– 7 associations, 7 foundations and 2 newspapers were shut down.
29- Decree Law No.: KHK/696 (December 24, 2017)
– Actions of those who “act within the fight against coup-related and terrorist actions as well as others that have the characteristic of a continuation of such actions, no matter if they possess an official title or not” were taken under impunity as well. The expression, “…others that have the characteristic of a continuation of such actions” allows an opportunity of impunity for those who claim that they have acted within this aim outside of the location and time of the night of the coup against people going out on the streets with arms.
– A uniform requirement was brought on arrested prisoners facing “charges against the Constitutional order and its application mechanism.”
– 16 new member openings were made in the State Council and 100 in the Court of Cassation. However, the number of members in institutions of the high judiciary were decreased only a year ago due to “lack of necessity.”
– The Public Prosecutor was allowed to object against a court decree that releases a suspect or defendant. No such authority was possessed by the Public Prosecutor prior to this decree.
– An amendment was made in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK): Documents and summaries that were previously required to be read out loud were allowed to be summarized.
– The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, that was previously within the Ministry of National Defense, was bound to the President of the Republic. Personnel for the Undersecretariat was made to require permission by the President and the President was allowed to transfer this authority to the Undersecretary.
– 4/C (temporary) personnel status was removed and personnel in this status were moved to 4/B (contracted) status.
– Turkish Sugar Authority and Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority (TAPDK) were shut down and their authorities were assigned to related ministries.
– Gemlik district of Bursa, that was indicated to be under threat for an earthquake, was decided to be moved. The matter was previously on agenda as well, whereas could not be taken into action due to contradictions with the Olive Protection Act.
30- Decree Law No.: KHK/697 (January 12, 2018)
– 262 people were dismissed from public service; 2,217 public officers previously dismissed with an emergency decree, most “Bylock” app victims, were re-employed.
– One TV channel and one radio channel were shut down.
31- Decree Law No.: KHK/701 (July 7, 2018)
– 18,632 people were dismissed from public service, including 199 academics. 148 previously dismissed public officers were re-employed.
– 12 associations, 3 newspapers and one TV channel were shut down.
On the other hand, other Statutory Decrees No. 668, 669, 700, 701 and 703 were issued during the State of Emergency by the Council of Ministers; whereas these decrees were not issued under the State of Emergency (OHAL). These decrees enacted adjustment laws required for the transition to the Presidential system; assigning all legislative authority to the President of the Republic. Statutory Decree No. 702 also allowed the establishment of a Nuclear Regulation Institute.