Some 46,000 individual applications pending with Turkey’s Constitutional Court

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has seen a steady increase in applications, with around 46,000 cases pending in the highest legal body for review in the country, the court’s President Zühtü Arslan said.

The court finalised nearly 45,000 applications in 2020, Bianet news site cited Arslan as saying in a statement he released on the occasion of the 59th anniversary of the court.

Some 17,000 applications have been filed with the top court thus far compared to the average of 20,000 applications per year ahead of the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

Turkey has seen a surge in applications to the Constitutional Court since the failed putsch,after which the Turkish government began a crackdown on the Gülen movement, a religious group led by U.S. -based cleric Fethullah Gülen.  The purges saw tens of thousands of civil servants dismissed from their jobs or jailed over alleged links to the group. 

Turkish Constitutional Court’s workload far surpasses that of courts fulfilling the same duty in other countries, according to Arslan.

The Constitutional Court began accepting individual applications in 2012 following a high number of applications filed with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) citing the violation of basic rights and freedoms by public institutions.  

The ECHR stipulates that Turkish citizens must first apply to the Constitutional Court to determine a possible breach of their rights before applying to the European court.