Producing Legal History

Iustitia dilata est iustitia negata is a famous legal maxim meaning that “justice delayed is justice denied”. It goes without saying that it represents a universal truth. This truth is particularly relevant to the European Court of Human Rights which – on average – takes several years to deliver a judgment.

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A Do-Over for Istanbul: Gripping Electoral Law and Democratic Resilience

On 31 March 2019, Turkey’s municipal elections resulted in a shock defeat for the ruling AK Party of president Erdoğan in the overwhelming majority of metropolitan cities. The Supreme Electoral Board canceled the Istanbul election soon after by announcing its reasoning on 22 May. The entire process illustrates how the AK Party has been adjusting the electoral law in a way that has now resulted in the cancellation and re-run of Istanbul’s mayoral election.

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Independent Journalism v. Political Courts: The Cumhuriyet Trial in Turkey and Strasbourg

Shortly after Turkey’s ruling AK party lost control of metropolitan cities in the local elections of April 2019, a crucial verdict of the regional appellate court in a major case of journalism was brought forth in the national judicial network system. This case is known as the Cumhuriyet trial. Through silence, delay, or selective responsiveness, not only the Turkish Constitutional Court but also the European Court of Human Rights are playing their part in the ongoing demise of Turkey’s freedom of the press.

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Is This President Erdogan’s Last Term in Office? A Note on Constitutional Interpretive Possibilities

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as president in 2014. In 2018, he was elected to the same position for a second term. The Turkish Constitution, aside from one exceptional case, is clear in its command that no-one may serve as president for more than two terms. Is this, then, President Erdogan’s last term in office? The short answer is maybe.

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Should the ECtHR Consider Turkey’s Criminal Peace Judgeships a Viable Domestic Avenue?

Turkey has seen an erosion of democracy in recent years, particularly since the July 2016 coup attempt. The European Court of Human Rights has received over 33,000 applications from the country. However, more than 90% have been rejected, many on the basis that they have yet to exhaust viable domestic avenues. This is a conundrum when there is no viable domestic judicial system that is independent from the state. Of notable concern is the Criminal Peace Judgeships (CPJ).

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Prosecuting a Judge that Enjoys Diplomatic Immunity: the Case of Judge Aydın Sefa Akay

After the coup attempt on 15 July 2016, more than 80,000 people have been detained in Turkey. One of the most interesting incidents was undoubtedly the arrest of International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals’ (MICT) (former) Judge Aydın Sefa Akay. The main problem in this situation was whether Judge Akay enjoyed diplomatic immunity even from his own State’s jurisdiction. What happened with Judge Akay has manifested the deficiency of international rules regarding the immunity of international judges and, moreover, that said rules must be so articulated that they leave no room for similar incidents in the future.

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The Curious Case of Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code: Insulting the Turkish President

Judgments by the Strasbourg Court are binding on Turkey and furthermore are the primary source for interpreting the European Convention of Human Rights, a treaty to which Turkey is party and which, according to Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution, prevails over national laws such as Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code on insulting the President, in the event of conflict. ECtHR jurisprudence clearly indicates such a conflict between Article 299 and the Convention. But are Turkish courts aware of this?

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The ECtHR and Post-coup Turkey: Losing Ground or Losing Credibility?

Since Turkey’s coup attempt in July 2016, human rights violations have been abundant. With a broken Turkish justice system, the ECtHR has received over 33,000 applications from the country, with 30 to 40 more incoming each week. Shockingly, more than 90% of these applications have been dismissed. This is often on dubious grounds, causing experts and Turkish citizens alike to condemn its response.

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The Tide is Turning: Elections in Turkey

Will the elections tomorrow change the course of the country in an equally abrupt and infinitely more dramatic manner? Is the seemingly limitless power of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party) about to crumble? It’s too early to say. But it is definitely possible.

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