Libertarian charter the antidote to coups, top court head says

Libertarian charter the antidote to coups, top court head says

Libertarian charter the antidote to coups, top court head says

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A new civilian constitution is the best answer to coup plotters, Turkey’s top judge has said in an indirect address to the government.

“The best answer to be given to the putschist mentality which was resurrected on July 15 is to make a democratic and libertarian constitution,” the president of the Constitutional Court, Zühtü Arslan, said on Oct. 5 in a speech he gave at the oath-taking ceremony of newly assigned court members Recai Akyel and Yusuf Şevki Hakyemez, noting that the brief period of unity following the coup attempt could provide groundwork for a new charter.

The top judge’s remarks came after main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) applied to the Constitutional Court for the annulment of decree laws issued by the government due to a state of emergency that was announced in the aftermath of the July 15 coup. The contents of the decree laws were unconstitutional, the CHP argued in its appeal to the high court. 

“The state of emergency is enacted in detail by the constitution, and the conditions and limits of intervention are clearly stated. Of course the motive is to eliminate any threats to basic rights and liberties and the democratic constitutional state immediately,” he added.

The judge emphasized that security should be understood as a prerequisite for the protection of basic rights and liberties, not as an opponent to it. “Justice is the cement of the order of law, and the foundation of the state. In this respect, within the conditions of emergencies, where the basic rights and principles are more fragile, the establishment of justice gains more importance.”

Arslan also criticized Western countries for not giving an adequate reaction to the coup attempt while praising the Turkish people’s stance against the plotters, describing the “free world’s” indifference as playing the “silence of lambs.”

Hakyemez, the former rector of Karadeniz Technical University, and previous Comptroller General Akyel were assigned to Constitutional Court membership by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 25. Their predecessors, Alparslan Altan and Erdal Tercan, were arrested on the day after the coup attempt on suspicions of participating in the attempted takeover.

Hakyemez and Akyel took their oath in a ceremony yesterday in which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, Supreme Court of Appeals head İsmail Rüştü Cirit and Council of State head Zerrin Güngör were present at the ceremony.