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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Washington - Court of Appeal: Turkey has no immunity for attacking Kurdish protesters

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In a final and unanimous decision, the Washington City Court of Appeals rejected Turkey's request to reconsider its decision on the violence against Kurdish protesters. It is recalled that in 2017 Recep Tayyip Erdogan's security men attacked and violently beat peaceful protesters outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador and then got involved in fights with US Secret Service personnel (Secret Service).

At first instance, the Washington District Court ruled that the immunity criteria were not met. Subsequently, following Turkey's appeal, the three Court of Appeals judges who heard the case came to the same conclusion. However, the neighboring country decided to exhaust all the legal tools at its disposal, asking all 10 judges of the Court of Appeal to reconsider the decision. However, this time too he had no luck, and now the rejection of this request means that appealing to the Supreme Court is the only way for Turkey.

Expressing his satisfaction, the expatriate lawyer Andreas Akaras, who has taken over the representation of the protesters, told APE-MPE that "the rejection of this request is another blow to the efforts made by Turkey to avoid its responsibility for the shameful actions of Mr. Erdogan and his bodyguards. "

The history of the case

The lawsuit was filed by American citizens not against individuals, but against the Turkish state. For its part, Turkey has argued that it enjoys immunity and therefore this incident cannot be brought before the Washington District Court.

At first instance, the District Court ruled that the criteria of immunity were not met. The Turkish side, however, appealed with the main argument that the specific actions were taken for reasons of protection of the president, who was on the steps of the embassy residence. Given that the case involved the involvement of a foreign government, the judges sought the opinion of the three relevant government departments (Ministry of Justice, State Department, Secret Police).

This was followed by a joint opinion submitted to the Washington District Court by memorandum. In this text, the US Department of Justice in cooperation with the State Department and the Secret Service (Secret Service) concluded that Turkey does not meet the criteria of immunity provided by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). Explaining their reasoning, the three services argued that the acts in question were not carried out for the protection of the Turkish president and therefore did not enjoy the immunity provided by the relevant provisions of the law.

It is worth noting that leaders from the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had sent a letter to Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken asking him to clarify that Turkey has no immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act. (FSIA).

SOURCE: RES-EBA

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