POSTS BY Başak Çalı

“Academics for Peace“ and their Freedom of Expression

The ‘Academics for Peace Petition’, published in January 2016, was signed by around two thousand academics from both Turkey and from abroad. The petition raised concerns, using strong language, about the conduct of Turkish security forces in their counter-terrorism operations carried out in response to violent actions by the PKK terrorist group and their supporters  in south-east Turkey in the summer of 2015. One signatory,  Füsun Üstel, professor of political science, was found guilty of committing the crime of terrorist propaganda under Article 7(2) of the Turkish Counter Terrorism Law and now faces fifteen months of imprisonment. The constitutional protection of Üstel’s freedom of expression has not been respected by the court in its judicial reasoning. 

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Will Legalism be the End of Constitutionalism in Turkey?

On 11 January 2018, Turkish constitutionalism entered a new phase of decay. This phase was not triggered by criticism of its judgments by the government nor by the retreat of constitutional protections by the Turkish Constitutional Court (TCC) nor by constitutional court packing as seen in Hungary or Poland. Instead, first instance courts became the newest actors to challenge the authority of the country’s constitution and how it is interpreted by the TCC. The new rebels against Turkish constitutionalism are ordinary judges.

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Merabishvili v. Georgia: Has the Mountain Given Birth to a Mouse? 

The wait for those of us looking for much needed answers to understand what direction and coherence the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights would give to its nascent Article 18 case law (also known as ‘bad faith’ case law) has ended. A verdict has been reached in Merabashvili v. Georgia Grand Chamber judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.  In a climate of retreat from human rights law and standards under the guise of domestic legalism, answers to the questions of what it means to violate the Convention in bad faith, how we prove it and what responses we owe to bad faith human rights violations have become pressing and urgent. The Grand Chamber gave us answers to the first two questions and passed on the third.

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