“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. 

Continue Reading →

The Final Trick? Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances, and the Recomposition of the Turkish State

The Turkish parliament has recently passed constitutional amendments that will, pending the public referendum in spring 2017, set aside decades of parliamentary system tradition. Presumably aimed to repair the dysfunctions of the current regime and to respond to the need of a “stronger Turkey”, the proposed draft does not only eradicate the principle of separation of powers but rebuilds the state according to the interests of ruling groups, without much consideration being paid to the overall integrity of the system and long term implications.

Continue Reading →