Venice Commission head concerned about attacks against Turkish Constitutional Court

Venice Commission head concerned about attacks against Turkish Constitutional Court

Venice Commission head concerned about attacks against Turkish Constitutional Court

Turkish Constitutional Court President Haşim Kılıç. AA Photo

Venice Commission President Gianni Buquicchio has expressed his concern over recent statements from the Turkish government criticizing the Constitutional Court, stressing the importance of the body in the name of the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

The Commission is the main advisory body of the Council of Europe on constitutional matters.

“When attending the Conference of Asian Constitutional Courts in Istanbul I was informed about statements by representatives of the executive harshly criticizing the Constitutional Court of Turkey. This Court plays a crucial role in upholding the core values of the Council of Europe: The rule of law, democracy and human rights,” Buquicchio said in a statement released on April 30.

 “Recent decisions of the Court have made an important contribution to strengthening the independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression in Turkey. Through these decisions the Court has shown its ability to effectively fulfill its constitutional role as an independent and impartial body defending the values enshrined in the Turkish Constitution,” the statement added.

No one should question the Court’s role as the independent and impartial organ of the state defending human rights and the rule of law, Buquicchio also said, while also referencing the 2010 government-led reforms.

“The increased importance of the Constitutional Court of Turkey follows the constitutional reform of 2010 which was initiated by the government and endorsed by the Turkish people in a referendum. This new role of the Court opens the perspective that in the future Turkey will be able to solve most human rights issues domestically and will no longer be one of the countries found most often in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights by the Strasbourg Court. For this reason, it is in the interest of Turkey that a national court provides effective protection of human rights and the rule of law,” Buquicchio added.

“I am therefore concerned about recent statements criticizing the Court for exercising its constitutional functions. While courts are not exempt from public criticism and democratic debate, excessive criticism by holders of public office risks undermining their independence, and, in this specific case, jeopardizing the important progress already made in Turkey,” he added, calling on all public authorities and media to cease attacks against the top court.