President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has issued a decree with regards to his government's new “action plan” which vows to strengthen the rights to a fair trial and freedom of expression in Turkey.
The presidential decree published in the Official Gazette on April 30 said that the plan will be implemented over the course of two years.
“Targets and activities have been concretely penned in the Action Plan which is predicted to have an implementation period of two years; for every envisaged activity, short-term (1-3 months), medium-term (6 months-1 year) and long-term (2 years) periods have been determined,” the decree said.
On March 2, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) unveiled its new plan on strengthening human rights in Turkey, under the name of “Human Rights Action Plan.”
Legal experts and ordinary citizens however have pointed out they expect not more words, but deeds from the country’s rulers in light of Turkey’s weak record on human rights, with the imprisonment of several people on trumped-up charges.
The presidential decree said that the action plan will be implemented in coordination with all the ministries and public institutions. Apart from pledging to broaden freedoms and rights, the plan also aims to ensure that public services are offered in an equal, transparent and just way.
“With the improvement of the standard in human rights and freedoms, our democracy will gain an acceleration in a way that it focuses on our citizens' satisfaction,” the decree said.
For the effective implementation of the action plan, a committee named “Human Rights Action Plan Monitoring and Evaluation Committee” has been established.
The committee, which will be chaired by Erdoğan, will consist of the vice president, justice minister, family and social services minister, labor minister, foreign minister, treasury minister and interior minister. In the absence of the president, the committee will be chaired by the vice president, the decree noted.
“The committee will gather every six months, and the procedures with regards to its functioning will be determined by the committee itself,” the decree said, adding that “if needed,” the representatives of the relevant institutions will be invited to the committee meetings.
Every four months, the relevant ministries and public institutions will send their reports with regard to their progress of the action plan's implementation to the Justice Ministry.
Based on these reports, the Justice Ministry will prepare an “Annual Implementation Report” and offer it to the approval of the “Human Rights Action Plan Monitoring and Evaluation Committee.”
The Justice Ministry's report will be also sent to the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey (TİHEK) and the Ombudsman Institution of Turkey, which will submit their opinions of the report to the Presidency and Turkish Parliament.
Eventually, the report will be shared with the public by the Presidency.
“The Human Rights Action Plan Implementation Timeline will be released on the Justice Ministry's official website,” the decree also noted.