Top judge says constitutional courts established to ‘protect human dignity’
Haşim Kılıç speaks during a congress on constitutional courts held on April 28, as part of the 52nd anniversary of the foundation of Turkey’s Constitutional Court. AA PhotoConstitutional courts across the world are established to “protect human dignity,” Turkish Constitutional Court President Haşim Kılıç has said, in apparent response to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent accusations that he was “protecting a parallel gang.”
“The common mission of all constitutional courts across the world is to protect and ensure human dignity, without discriminating against anyone on the basis of race, color, religion or faith. Protecting this value is fundamentally the primary task of the legislative and the executive, while the judiciary is the last instance that can repair human rights violations,” Kılıç said during a congress on constitutional courts held on April 28, as part of the 52nd anniversary of the foundation of Turkey’s Constitutional Court.
“Constitutions are precious and permanent not only because they protect national values, but also because they contain universal values such as the protection of the rule of law, democracy and human rights,” he said.
“The need [for constitutional courts] arose to prevent the executive, legislative or judicial organs that use the state’s powers from damaging or removing those values,” Kılıç added.
Last week, Kılıç caused a stir by strongly criticizing the government over its recent interventions into the judiciary, speaking in his address on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the Court’s foundation, which was attended by high state officials.
His remarks were slammed by top government officials, including Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek who said no one had attended the ceremony “to be scolded or slapped.” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, meanwhile, described the court as a “new opposition filling the vacuum left by the parliamentary parties.”
For his part, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Kılıç of being either part of what he calls “the parallel structure,” saying he may be “protecting it for future personal ambitions.”
“They [the parallel structure] listened to the head and the members of the Constitutional Court. I think some people will understand what I mean,” Erdoğan said during his party’s rally in Kayseri on April 27.
“Parallel structure” is the term used by government officials to refer to members of the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose followers are known to be in key positions within the judiciary and the police.