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OHAL commission has rejected 99,140 applications out of 126,630 to date

A commission set up by the Turkish government to look into complaints from individuals who were adversely affected by government decrees during a state of emergency (OHAL) in Turkey has so far rejected 99,140 applications out of the 126,630 it has processed since its establishment in summer 2017, according to a written statement from the commission on Thursday.

The commission said it has ruled in favor of only 13,170 petitioners so far.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of a failed coup on July 15, 2016 that remained in effect until July 19, 2018.

During the state of emergency, the AKP issued a number of government decrees, known as KHKs, through which 130,000 people including thousands of academics, politicians, teachers, doctors, officials, businessmen, artists and journalists were purged from their jobs due to their real or alleged connections to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of being behind the failed coup. The movement strongly denies any involvement.

Individuals whose applications have been rejected by the OHAL commission have the right, within 60 days, to file a case at the Ankara 19th or 20th administrative courts for cancellation of the decisions of the OHAL commission.

Earlier this week, the tenure of the OHAL commission was extended for another year. It was normally to serve for two years and conclude all complaints filed; however, the commission will have served for five years with the new extension, leading to criticism that its existence delays people’s access to the judicial system.

Critics say the OHAL commission was established to prevent purge victims from directly applying to courts because they are expected to first challenge their expulsion from state jobs at the OHAL commission.

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