Turkey: Enhanced procedure to the case of Osman Murat Ülke
Degrading treatment as a result of the applicant’s repetitive convictions between 1996 and 1999 and imprisonment for having refused to perform compulsory military service on account of his convictions as a pacifist and conscientious objector (substantive violation of Article 3).
Status of execution before the meeting
The applicant has been in hiding for a long time as a result of the continuing threat of prosecution. In 2007, despite the findings of the European Court in this case, he was again summonsed to serve his sentence. Since the adoption of the first interim resolution in October 2007, the Committee has been regularly examining the case at each of its human rights meetings. In the second interim resolution adopted in March 2009, the Committee strongly urged "the Turkish authorities to take without further delay all necessary measures to put an end to the violations of the applicant’s rights under the Convention and to make the legislative changes necessary to prevent similar violations of the Convention". Given that no tangible information had been provided on the measures envisaged, the Chairman of the Committee sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart in October 2009 conveying the Committee’s grave preoccupation regarding the absence of any information on the measures required in this case. In his reply of February 2010, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed the commitment of his authorities to executing the judgment of the Court and informed the Committee that work on legislative amendments was being conducted by the competent authorities. Subsequently, the Committee invited the Turkish authorities to provide concrete information on the announced legislative work. However, no concrete information was provided in this respect. At the 1100th meeting (November-December 2010), the Turkish authorities stated that the execution of this judgment raised certain difficulties since it required legislative amendments concerning military service. At the same meeting, the Committee once again invited the Turkish authorities to provide information on the development of the legislative process and to clarify whether the applicant is still being sought by the authorities to serve his previous sentences. No information was provided in this regard at the 1108th or 1115th meetings. At the 1115th meeting, having noted that no information had been provided, the Committee once again stressed the urgency and priority of the adoption of the necessary measures and strongly invited the authorities to give priority to the adoption of the necessary legislative measures without any further delay after the general elections of June 2011. At the same meeting, the Committee urged the authorities to provide information as to the applicant’s situation and invited them to clarify whether the applicant was still being searched for by the authorities to serve his previous sentences. By a letter of 20/07/2011, the applicant’s representative communicated to the Committee of Ministers a judgment rendered on 05/10/2009 by the Military Court of the Eskişehir 1st Air Forces Command which decided that the prison sentences imposed in two judgments previously rendered on 01/02/1999 and 09/03/1999 had become time-barred and could no longer be executed. However, with the same letter, the applicant’s representative also communicated a letter from the Office of the military prosecutor of the Eskişehir 1st Air Forces Command informing her that there was currently a valid arrest warrant against the applicant on account of a criminal investigation pending against him for desertion. According to the information submitted by the applicant’s representative, police officers visit the applicant’s mother’s house every three or six months and ask the applicant’s whereabouts. The last visit took place on 18/07/2011. The applicant’s representative claimed that those visits affected the applicant’s family members psychologically and provoked distress and anxiety.
1. noted that two previous judgments convicting the applicant on account of persistent disobedience became time barred and could not therefore be executed;
2. expressed grave concern with regard to the fact that there was currently a valid arrest warrant against the applicant on account of a criminal investigation pending against him for desertion;
3. stressed that the European Court in its present judgment found that “the numerous criminal proceedings brought against the applicant, the cumulative effects of the ensuing criminal convictions and constant alternation between prosecution and imprisonment together with the possibility that he would face prosecution for the rest of his life, are disproportionate to the aim of ensuring that he performs his military service”;
4. expressed further their grave concern that this judgment still remains to be executed;
5. recalled that Turkey has stated on numerous occasions that legislative measures were required not only to prevent similar violations but also to prevent the continuous prosecutions and convictions of the applicant (see Interim Resolution (2007)109);
6. strongly urged Turkey once more to take the necessary measures to execute this judgment;
7. insisted in this respect that Turkey informs the Committee of Ministers of the legislative measures required in time before the December DH meeting, including on their content and their time table for adoption;
8. decided to resume consideration of this item having in mind document CDDH(2008)014 addendum II.
Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe: Turkey: Enhanced procedure to the case of Osman Murat Ülke. Ülke v. Turkey, Application 39437/98, Final judgment 24/04/2006, September 23, 2011