Jan 12 2018

Constitutional Court overstepping mandate - Turkish Deputy PM

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ responded to a constitutional court decision ruling that two journalists had had their rights violated through extended pre-trial detention by saying that the court had overstepped its mandate.

“When making decisions on personal applications, the Constitutional Court is governed by the constitution and the law: it cannot exceed the limits laid down in the constitution and the law, it cannot act like a first degree or court of appeal or further court of appeal, (and) it cannot act as though it is not bound by rules,” Bozdağ tweeted.

The constitutional court had considered evidence and what constituted a crime, which was outside its mandate, he said.

“In the decision on (Şahin) Alpay and (Mehmet) Altan, the Constitutional Court has exceeded the limits of the constitution and law (according to the statement published by the court),” Bozdağ said.

The decision was “a bad and wrong repeat of the Can Dündar decision,” which had released the editor of opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper from prison, he said.

“The Constitutional Court is tasked with overseeing the constitution and law, not perceptions,” Bozdağ said, a reference to the term “perceptions management”, which is used in Turkish as a euphemism for misleading propaganda.

The 13th Istanbul Criminal Court earlier rejected the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the pair of journalists should be released.