Interior minister lashes out at top judge for annulling ban on roadside demonstrations
Tension between Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Constitutional Court head Zühtü Arslan has heightened after the former said 41 deputy policy chiefs appointed on the watch of the latter during his time as the head of the Police Academy were dismissed on charges of links to FETÖ.
“I am not blaming the head of the Constitutional Court, but I point out an observation. It was me who expelled 41 deputy police chiefs that he appointed [during his term at the Police Academy] because of FETÖ [links]. That shows we have to be attentive when recruiting people to state offices,” Soylu said in a televised interview late Sept. 23.
The two men engaged in a public row after Soylu criticized the Constitutional Court for annulling a ban on mass demonstrations on intercity roads.
In an indirect response to Soylu, Arslan criticized the minister for slamming the court’s ruling without waiting for the justified decision on the annulment.
“Court decisions, especially those issued by the Constitutional Court are not sacred documents. They should be criticized. But having said that, I should emphasize two points concerning these criticisms. First, in order to criticize a document, it should be first read and understood,” Arslan said.
The second aspect he touched on was the way Soylu voiced his criticism. “In most cases, how you raise a criticism overshadows what you say,” he stated.
Soylu, in an interview late Sept. 22, said he was not in a personal row with the head of the Constitutional Court. “We are all serving the country. But we should be able to express what we are facing. My job is to raise these points and I am doing this my own way,” he said.
Accusing Arslan of conducting publicity efforts through Twitter messages in which he complained about interventions made in judicial processes, Soylu said he slammed the decision only after the court made the ruling.
His aim is not to start a polemic with the top court but to keep the public order, the minister said. “Around 45,000 to 50,000 demonstrations take place annually in Turkey. Only 1.5 percent of them has been subjected to [police] intervention. This proportion is now only one percent in the year of 2020.”
“My philosophy and that of our president’s is this: Security is for freedom,” he stated.