Turkey’s top court rules May Day marchers’ rights violated

Turkey’s top court ruled that a violent police attack on six members of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) who tried to march on Workers’ Day in Istanbul in 2009 was a violation of their rights, foreign-supported news portal Bianet reported on Thursday.

The Turkish Constitutional Court (AYM) ruled that the attack by police forces on Ali Cerkezoglu, a TTB executive, was a violation of ill-treatment prohibition of the Turkish Constitution, adding that other five’s rights to assembly were violated.

The AYM also ordered that all six be paid 5,000 liras (around 800 euros) in non-pecuniary damage.

On May 1, 2009, the six were attacked by police using water cannon and tear gas while they were heading to Taksim Square for the commemoration of Workers’ Day, with Cerkezoglu being injured.

The attacked TTB members lodged individual applications to the AYM in 2015 when the investigation was closed with a decision of non-prosecution.

The court’s ill-treatment ruling in favor of Cerkezoglu was due to his medical report for his injury caused by the police intervention.

For the first time in domestic law, a court ruled in parallel with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) that [the Turkish officials’] arbitrarily crackdown on Taksim protests was unlawful. The decision is undoubtedly valuable in that regard,” Meric Eyuboglu, a lawyer of the six, told Bianet.

The lawyer, however, criticized the ruling as it said only one TTB member was subjected to ill-treatment while all were affected by the chemical gas used by police.

Early in 2018, eleven members of the TTB central council, including the TTB Chair Rasit Tukel, were detained for their criticism over the Turkish military’s operation in Syria.

At the time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the association of treason, saying, “Believe me, they are not intellectuals at all, they are a gang of slaves. They are the servants of imperialism.”

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