Turkey to upgrade human rights by 2023

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pledged on March 2 to strengthen freedoms of expression and organization in Turkey and the right to a fair trial as part of a Human Rights Action Plan while emphasizing that the ultimate goal of the plan is to build a new constitution.

“The Human Rights Action Plan that we announce today is an indication of our unwavering resolve for change and reform, “Erdoğan said at a ceremony where he unveiled the plan.

“There is no doubt that the constitution has a fundamental and key role for the implementation of the activities foreseen in the plan. Therefore, the ultimate goal of the Action Plan is a new civilian constitution,” he stated.

The government aims to further strengthen the understanding of a state of law based on human rights, and they will regularly review the legislation and implementation in this regard and take necessary measures, Erdoğan stated.

“In this respect, we will be focusing more on our efforts regarding the European Union, especially concerning the Visa Liberalization Dialogue,” he said.

The government also aims to enhance the effectiveness of the individual application system in the Constitutional Court. “We are initiating a comprehensive effort to amend political party law and the election law in order to strengthen democratic participation,” Erdoğan said.

They focus on enhancing the effectiveness of human rights organizations, Erdoğan said, noting that the decisions of the Ombudsman Institution and the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey would be made publicly available with due care to protect personal data.

The government will establish an independent “Human Rights Monitoring Commission for Penal Institutions” with the participation of representatives from bar associations, civil society organizations and universities to ensure a human rights-based approach with respect to the monitoring of penitentiary institutions.

They are extending the supervisory mandate of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors to ensure that reasonings are robust, consistent and well-argued, furthermore, appeal courts will have the authority to quash decisions on these grounds, the president stated.

The Action Plan “strengthens the foreseeability and transparency of administrative actions and decisions even further,” and for this purpose, the government is reducing the time limit for responding to applications addressed to the administration from 60 to 30 days, he stated.

Similarly, they introduce legal arrangements that are in line with the European Union “Framework for Screening of Foreign Direct investment,” Erdoğan said.

Turkey reviews the legislation and implementation to ensure that freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the right to demonstrate are safeguarded in the widest sense possible, Erdoğan stated, adding that judges, prosecutors and law enforcement would receive regular training to ensure that criticism and expressions of thought that are delivered by respecting the rights of others are not investigated.

They emphasize the use of detention as an exceptional measure by “making concrete evidence a condition” in catalog crimes, and they introduce a vertical appeal procedure with respect to the decisions of the criminal judgeships of peace on detention and other protection measures, Erdoğan said. The Action Plan puts an end to practices such as detaining a person outside working hours or in the middle of the night in a hotel room solely for the purpose of taking a statement, he said.

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