Turkey: Strasbourg court rejects teacher’s human rights challenge after failed coup

A teacher dismissed by emergency legislative decree after the failed coup d’état in Turkey, did not suffer a human rights violation.

European court judges ruled today that the dismissal “did not exhaust domestic remedies.”

In its decision in the case of Zihni v. Turkey (application no. 59061/16) the European Court of Human Rights unanimously declared the application inadmissible. The decision is final.

The case concerned the dismissal of a teacher from his duties by a legislative decree issued by the Council of Ministers in the context of the state of emergency introduced after the attempted coup
d’état of 15 July 2016.

The court noted that Zihni had lodged his application without having first brought proceedings before the national courts. It therefore rejected the application for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies (Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the convention).

The court noted that there were no special circumstances in the present case absolving Zihni from the obligation to make use of the domestic remedies available to him under Turkish law, namely an administrative action and an individual appeal to the Constitutional Court.

The court also considered that the fact that the Constitutional Court had ruled on the constitutionality of a law, in the context of a challenge to constitutionality, did not prevent members of the public from lodging an individual appeal before that court against specific decisions taken in application of that particular law’s provisions.

The court further noted that the Constitutional Court, which had received thousands of individual appeals, had not yet ruled on whether it had jurisdiction to examine the appeals lodged against the measures taken under the legislative decrees.

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