In the 58-year history of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Turkey has a record that we cannot take much pride in.
In terms of rights violations, registered in the court’s official statistics, Turkey outscored all other countries subjected to the ECHR system, taking the crown as the worst rights violator.
Starting from 1959, when the ECHR was established, until the end of 2016, Turkey is the country against which the most rulings have been made.
Some 3,270 rulings have been made regarding Turkey and in 2,889 of them, it was ruled that at least one article of the European Convention on Human Rights was violated. There were only 73 rulings in which Turkey was found to have committed no violation; in other words, the decisions in which the ECHR absolved Turkey is only 2 percent in total.
In a total of 204 rulings, the ECHR either went for a “friendly solution” or the applications dropped off the agenda, while 104 decisions entered the “other decisions” category including “authorization.”
When we evaluate the 2,889 rulings made by the ECHR against Turkey, we must also consider the fact that the ECHR system started to process decisions in 1959 but Turkey only joined in 1987. So the violation rulings cover a period of just 30 years.
It seems that after Turkey joined the system, it managed to leave its rights violations competitors in the dust within a very short period of time.
Another country that entered the system late and shot to the upper reaches of the rankings is our northern neighbor, Russia, which started accepting individual applications to the ECHR in 1998.
With a total of 1,834 rulings against it, Russia comes right after Turkey. In third place comes Italy with 1,791 violation decisions.
Statistics from the ECHR present striking data on which areas of rights are violated the most. For every one of the 2,889 rulings against Turkey, more than one article was violated. The total amount of rights violations is therefore 4,514.
Top on the list of these 4,514 violations comes the “right to a fair trial,” addressed in the sixth article of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Trials are rarely conducted correctly in terms of universal justice measures, which appears to be the biggest problem in Turkey’s judicial system according to the ECHR figures.
The fifth article of the convention, which deals with arrest principles, and is titled “the right to freedom and security,” is the second most violated category in Turkey’s thirty-year ECHR membership. There are 707 violations under this title.
This result reveals that Turkish citizens are frequently arrested using unlawful methods and that those arrests can easily turn into sentences.
It is noteworthy that the “right to property protection” article comes third on Turkey’s violation list.
This violation category mostly tackles expropriation decisions. Here we understand that the Turkish state has a coarse attitude towards a citizen’s property rights.
With 586 violations, the “long-lasting investigations and trials” category comes fourth.
In fifth place, violations stem from “not sufficiently investigating” incidents concerning “the right to live” and “prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment.”
Some 412 violations here show how strong “unpunished culture” in Turkey is.
The ranking continues like this: “torture and inhuman treatment” (314 violations), “no efficient right to objection” (268 violations), “freedom of expression” (265 violations), “the right to live” (133 violations) and “the right to respect private and family life” (100 violations).
In this list, are there no titles Turkey did not violate? There are; here are those three titles:
For example, there is no violation under the title of “the right to not be tried or punished twice for the same crime.”
Turkey has also never been sentenced for “the right to marriage” and “the prohibition of slavery and forced labor.”
Let this console us…