AK Party gov’t suspends civil servants’ job protections

An article adopted by Parliament in the recent omnibus law significantly undermines civil servants’ job security by changing laws regarding the implementation of court orders concerning job protections.

According to the law, even if a civil servant should obtain a court decision saying he was unjustly removed from a post, the government is authorized to ignore the court’s decision for up to two years.  
 
Article 100 of the omnibus law not only seriously harms the job security of civil servants, but also of the country’s police force in which 250 thousand policemen serve.
 
The article was harshly criticized by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) during discussions in Parliament. Atilla Kart, who is a member of the parliamentary Constitutional Committee, said in remarks to Today’s Zaman that the article is aimed at suspending the universally recognized right of resorting to the judicial system to seek to correct a situation resulting from an error or unfair treatment.  
 
Noting that the article adopted in Parliament violates the Constitution, Kart told Today’s Zaman: “This is an arrangement that violates not only one single article of the Constitution, but 50 articles of it. It is directly in violation of Article 138 because it renders judicial verdicts invalid by law. If the implementation of a court decision is postponed for two years, then that decision serves nothing. As it is, it would certainly be cancelled by the Constitutional Court [AYM]. But when we look at the latest decision of the AYM, we notice the sway the executive branch has [over the Court]. I have serious doubts that the AYM will, by keeping itself away from the influence of the executive, move in line with the law regarding this arrangement.”
 
According to Kart, it is obvious that the article was drawn up with an eye for revenge. “The law is being put forward due to feelings of hostility. [The article] paves the way for [officials] to give unlawful instructions. There are also worries that members of a certain profession [the police force] are being targeted [by the law]. All these would bring about heavy consequences in terms of social peace.”
 
Recalling the period when decisions of the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) could not be appealed for years, CHP deputy Atilla Kart posited that Turkey could be expected to face even worse days than those of that period with the new legislation.
 
With the recent omnibus law, the heads of departments, ministry inspectors, counselors and high-ranking managers in the public sector will not able object to the decisions made about them by their superiors.
 
According to the legislation, even if high-ranking public officials apply to the court for a reversal of decisions concerning reassignments to other posts, purges or removal, state institutions are granted a period of two years to implement the court’s verdict. Those public officials will be eligible for other posts rather than their former positions. Even if the court orders the reinstatement of high-level public employees to their earlier posts they will be placed in different branches in positions similar to their former ones. Additionally, any administrative or legal investigation into officials who resist applying the court’s orders will be impossible to carry out. Thus, not implementing a court’s order will not constitute a crime.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman on the issue, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Mehmet Günal said the law is in fact unlawful because it aims to victimize public officials intimidate public inspectors.

“With some articles in the omnibus law, Turkey will go back on advances it has made. There is a crucial detail in the legislation: Public inspectors will be reassigned as ordinary civil servants. This is an obvious intimidation tactic against those inspectors. Even if they appeal to the court to correct the injustice and they win the case, they will not be reinstated to their former posts. The main purpose of this regulation is to prevent them from drawing up reports that the administration does not like or approve of. This is nothing but a clear example of intimidation.”
 

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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