Regarding the Developments Related to the Freedom of Thought and Expression

Two important developments closely related with the freedom of thought and expression that constitute the key for the progress of our country and the increasing of our welfare, as well as the fundamentals with regard to ensuring the rule of law made their mark in the previous week.

(1) We learned that three journalists who are known for their critical approaches were arrested for the reason that they reported news regarding a funeral attended by state officials, as well as the martyrdom of an official of the National Intelligence Organization, which was announced, in detail, by a member of the parliament. One of those reporters, Murat Ağırel, was released, at first, by a judge of the criminal court of peace; however, he was subsequently subjected to a police operation at his home, and at the house of his previous mother-in-law, at dawn – even though he did not attempt to escape, and he was not a terror suspect-, he was arrested by another judge of the criminal court of peace.

(2) We, regretfully, watched the riot police intervening in a demonstration of women who had gathered in the streets of Beyoğlu to get to the Taksim square to celebrate the March 8 International Women’s Day. Because the women did not disperse from the gathering as they attempted to enter the square, the women were attacked by the police, and were subjected to a disproportionate use of force.

These two events, along with other similar previous events, once again have exhibited the importance to limit and regulate the exercise of state power, judicial and executive power via the law and essence of the law; and the protection and development of fundamental rights and freedoms, in particular, the freedom of thought and expression, that are prone to serious harms in the face of even a minor negativity.

1) The public officials who were unable to ensure the confidentiality of the identity of the official of the National Intelligence Organization who was martyred should be subjected to investigation, and the journalists who reported the news regarding the information disclosed by the public officials and the breach of confidentiality should be released.

2) The procedures with respect to the criminal courts of peace and the relevant objection procedures should be amended and it should be ensured that the final decisions regarding the events will be made by the most competent and special courts.

3) The March 8 International Women’s Day Demonstration Marches at Taksim Square Should Conduce Realization of Reconciliation and Social Peace Instead of Polarization.

4) The freedom of thought and freedom of expression should be improved and the use of public force should be balanced and restricted by the rule of law.
Justice constitutes the fundamental sense and belief that holds society together and strengthens it.

Materialization of justice constitutes the duty of the judiciary in official terms. The presence of a better judiciary is required for a better justice; and the better structuring, functioning, working processes, as well as better and specialized judges, should exist for the betterment of the judiciary.

The Better Judiciary begins in the initial place where state power contacts the citizen.
Meanwhile, in the court houses, the better judiciary can be achievable by the improvement of the duty of fulfillment and trial procedures, ensuring the rendering of more accurate, thorough decisions with comprehensible reasoning, and through the establishment of better and developed processes that will prevent the rendering of inaccurate decisions.

Within the framework as so stated above, regulations with regard to the (i) Current criminal courts of justice; (ii) State interventions with respect to assemblies and demonstrations; (iii) Provision of discretionary powers and authority to the administrative authorities with regard to the use of police force should be made in a manner that will protect and improve the fundamental rights and freedoms.

Respectfully announced to the public.

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Kamuoyuna

31 Ağustos 2022

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