Emanuele Sommario

The Turkish Derogation to the European Convention of Human Rights as a Response to the Failed "Coup d'Etat" of July 2016

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This note looks at the decision adopted by the Turkish authorities to suspend the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) in the wake of the attempted military putsch of July 2016. Derogations from some - but not all - human rights are permissible under Article 15 of the ECHR when a state party is faced with a public emergency that threatens the life of the nation. Extraordinary measures can thus be adopted to address the situation in the attempt to restore normalcy. However, substantial as well as procedural obligations must be complied with while implementing emergency measures. The note will first address whether the situation prevailing in Turkey falls within the scope of Article 15. It will then examine if the emergency measures adopted are compatible with the substantial requirements imposed by the provision. Finally, it will assess whether the decision to derogate was notified in accordance with the procedures set out in Article 15. The analysis will be based on a perusal of Article 15 as interpreted by the European Court and European Commission of Human Rights. The note concludes that, while resort to the derogation clause is probably warranted, some of the measures adopted to by the Turkish authorities are difficult to justify, as they seem to go beyond what is strictly required by the exigencies of the situation.


  • European Convention of Human Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • Turkey
  • Derogation
  • State of Emergency
  • Counter-terrorism Measures


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