Europe’s top rights body slams Turkey’s emergency decrees

A Turkish police special forces officer secures central Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue, the main shopping road of Istanbul, in this July 2016 file photo. Europe's top human rights and democracy-promoting body says a series of decrees issued by Turkey's government, as part of a state of emergency declared following last year's coup attempt, exceed international democratic standards and Turkey's Constitution. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
Updated 06 October 2017
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Europe’s top rights body slams Turkey’s emergency decrees

ANKARA, Turkey: Experts from Europe’s top human rights body on Friday expressed concerns over decrees issued by Turkey’s government that removed elected mayors from posts and replaced them with unelected officials.
Following last year’s coup attempt Turkey declared a state of emergency that allows the government to rule by decrees, largely by-passing parliament. Turkey says the emergency powers are needed to deal with the coup-plotters and thwart security threats.
The Council of Europe’s advisory body — known as the Venice Commission and made up of constitutional law experts — said it was “particularly worried” by the use of decrees to sack elected mayors and other municipal officials in Turkey’s mainly-Kurdish southeast over terror-related charges and to appoint unelected officials in their place.
The Commission said: “Local authorities are one of the main foundations of democratic society... Their election by the local population is key to ensuring the people’s participation in the political process.”
Among other things, the Commission called on Turkey to stop filling vacancies through appointments, to ensure that decisions affecting municipalities are taken after parliamentary debate and to introduce rules that would reinstate mayors if charges do not lead to a criminal conviction.
Opposition politicians say the government has used the state of emergency to crack down on critics.
More than 50,000 people have been arrested and some 110,000 others were sacked from government jobs in a large-scale crackdown on people with alleged links to terror groups or to US-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey accuses of orchestrating the failed coup.


Libyan forces claim control of oil crescent despite renewed fighting

Updated 21 June 2018
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Libyan forces claim control of oil crescent despite renewed fighting

  • The Libyan army spokesperson said that “our orders are to end the militia’s presence in the oil crescent once and for all.”
  • Seven members of Libya’s armed forces were killed in renewed fighting around the port of Ras Lanuf.

LONDON: Seven members of Libya’s armed forces were killed in renewed fighting around the port of Ras Lanuf.
The official spokesman for the Libyan National Army confirmed that army units are in control of the entire oil crescent region but sent units to mop up opposition forces who gathered west of the region.
Col. Ahmed Al-Mesmari said, in an interview on Al-Arabiya Channel, that Libyan army units continue their operation against Al-Jadran militia and their allies south of Nofaliah and in the area known as KM60 east of the city of Sirte.
Al-Mesmari added the army units have been chasing the militants since taking over unit one of the ‘Ras Lanuf’ oil compound. Al-Mesmari revealed also that the militias left behind huge quantities of weapons, ammunition, and vehicles in addition to several prisoners.
The Libyan army spokesperson added that “our orders are to end the militia’s presence in the oil crescent once and for all.”
Earlier, the Libyan army chief of staff General Khalifah Haftar declared in an audio recording that the objective of his units is to liberate the oil crescent from militia control and to return the vital oil installation to the country’s economy.
General Haftar also said that he holds the leader of the local militia in the oil crescent Ibrahim Al-Jadran responsible for the latest clashes.
Al-Jadran has defied all Libyan administrations since the ousting of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime, in 2011.
Al-Jadran also succeeded in the past in halting all oil exports from the oil crescent areain Libya until his forces were routed by the army, in 2016.