Top court rulings ‘must be obeyed’: Erdoğan
The government has never failed to meet the requirements of judicial rulings, despite occasionally criticizing court rulings, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated on March 6.
Speaking at a symposium at the Presidential Complex, Erdoğan claimed that all legal proceedings related to the July 2016 military coup attempt and terrorism are being “carried out in line with the principles of the state of law.”
“From time to time we have criticized the decisions of our courts, our high judicial institutions and our Constitutional Court. We will continue to do that. But we have never ignored these decisions. We have never hesitated to fulfill their requirements,” he said.
“We reserve the right to criticize,” Erdoğan added, saying judges and prosecutors “should work in line with the law, conscious and justice.”
His comments come amid lingering controversy over the apparent dismissal of a Constitutional Court ruling by a lower court back in January. The Constitutional Court, the highest judiciary body in Turkey, in January ruled that the rights of jailed journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay had been violated, but the lower court hearing the case refused to apply the ruling and subsequently overruled it, prompting deep concerns about the rule of law in Turkey.
The Constitutional Court said the detention of Altan and Alpay had led to violations of the “right to personal liberty and security,” enshrined under Article 19 of the Constitution, and “freedom of expression and the press,” protected under articles 26 and 28.
Top government officials subsequently criticized the Constitutional Court’s decision.
“[With the ruling], the Constitutional Court has gone beyond the limits set by the constitution and the laws, acting as a first degree court by evaluating the case and the evidence,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ wrote on his Twitter account on Jan. 12.