Constitutional Court: Fine for sit-in action is a right violation

Issuing a precedent decision, the Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled that the administrative fines issued for sit-in actions by those dismissed from public service constitute a violation of right.

The Constitutional Court (AYM) of Turkey has issued a precedent decision. The Court gave a "right violation" ruling regarding the applicants who were given administrative fines due to the sit-in action they initiated after they were dismissed from public service through a statutory decree (KHK in Turkish) in Malatya province.

The AYM pointed to Article 34 of the Constitution and emphasized that imposing penalty on peaceful actions is not proportional to the aims pursued during the state of emergency. The decision argued that the protesters did not disturb the public order with the sit-in action, adding; “It is not proportional to impose a large number of administrative fines on the same people in peaceful actions lasting a long time.”


The decision, which emphasized that all kinds of activities such as meetings and demonstrations to be held in public areas within the borders of the province must seek permission from the Governorship within the scope of Law No. 2911 based on the State of Emergency rules, further argued that: “The purpose of the permission system during the state of emergency period is to ensure that necessary measures can be taken in advance. However, it is seen that the administration was aware of the action from the first day after the sit-in action started and the lack of permission ceased to be an essential element for the administration to take action under the circumstances of the concrete event. For this reason, it is essential that the administration does not interfere directly or indirectly in peaceful action.”


“However, the impact of dismissal through a statutory decree on the applicants a few months before the commencement of their actions should also be taken into account. In this context, the applicants' peaceful actions, just sitting on a bench for about seventy days, must be endured in a democratic society. For this reason, a fair balance has not been established in the decisions made by the courts,” the court ruled.


The justification of the decision, in which it is noted that a large number of administrative fines were imposed on the same persons in peaceful actions that lasted a long time, suggested that: “The punishment of applicants who participated in a peaceful event that did not interfere with daily life, traffic or the provision of public services with administrative fines on the grounds that they did not fulfill their leave obligations cannot be regarded as a proportional limitation to the purpose pursued during the state of emergency. In the present case, it is evaluated that Article 15 of the Constitution does not justify this intervention contrary to the guarantees stated in Article 34 of the Constitution regarding the applicants' right to hold meetings and demonstrations. The Constitutional Court ruled that the right to hold meetings and demonstration was violated for the reasons explained.”