Turkey’s Constitutional Court hosts rights-themed film screenings

Turkey’s Constitutional Court hosts rights-themed film screenings

Emre KIZILKAYA - ekizilkaya@hurriyet.com.tr ANKARA
Turkey’s Constitutional Court hosts rights-themed film screenings

Constitutional Court Deputy Secretary General Dr. Bahadır Kılınç hosted a joint delegation of the IPI and the CPJ in the Supreme Council hall on Oct. 1

The Constitutional Court has recently started hosting human rights-themed movie screenings in the Turkish capital Ankara, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

The screenings, organized every two weeks on Friday afternoons at the Supreme Court hall in the main building of the Court in a southwestern suburb of the city, are open to all professional judges. The screenings are designed to give “supplementary education on human rights” and allow judges to assess the state of human rights in comparative law, as well as to follow the human rights situation in Turkey and the world.

The first screening on June 20 was “Invictus,” the 2009 movie based on the life of Nelson Mandela. Since then, judges’ voluntary attendance of the screenings has reportedly remained high, despite the fact that most of the selected movies are rather long, with some as long as 6-7 hours. An average of 50-60 judges are present for the screenings, which have also included Turkish productions such as Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.”

The Supreme Council is the name that the Constitutional Court takes when it tries ministers and senior members of the judiciary and the military.

The Constitutional Court has recently disturbed the government with a number of liberal verdicts, including the unblocking of Twitter in April. On Oct. 2, the Court also overturned recent amendments to an Internet law that would have allowed Turkey’s telecommunication authority to block websites swiftly and without a court order, as well as to collect and retain Internet users’ data. The overturning of the amendments came one day after Constitutional Court Head Haşim Kılıç met with a delegation from the International Press Institute (IPI) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“Fundamental human rights require fighting for them. Journalists, too, should resist. They shouldn’t surrender,” Kılıç had told the delegation.

A member of the joint press freedom delegation welcomed the Constitutional Court’s efforts to safeguard democratic norms.

“It is clear to me how important the Constitutional Court is in preserving and enhancing free expression in Turkey. It has made important rulings on Twitter and YouTube, in particular, and has tried to train a generation of jurists in the primacy of key rights and international norms,” David Schlesinger, former editor-in-chief of Reuters and a member of the CPJ Board, told the Hürriyet Daily News.