Turkey’s Erdoğan issues warning to Council of State

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday lashed out the country’s he highest administrative court, warning the judiciary to not overstep its boundaries, left-nationalist news site Oda TV reported.

The Turkish president’s statements arrive following a decision by the Council of State to rule against a decision by the government to abolish the pledge of allegiance in schools – over which representatives of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have been divided. The pledge is seen by some as exclusionary to the country’s minorities due to this emphasis on “Turkishness.’’ The oath begins with the proclamation “I am a Turk,” and ends with a motto of Atatürk’s: “How happy is the one who says ‘I am a Turk.’”  

While stressing that the Council overstepped its constitutional mandate to govern civilian politics, Erdoğan said that the judiciary should not act like a law legislator.

‘’If we are to get permission from the Council before preparing the presidential decrees then there is no point in me being in this seat,’’ Erdoğan said. ‘’I might as just well leave.’’

The State Council’s decision on the pledge of allegiance came after Turkey’s Education and Science Worker’s Union launched legal action to cancel the reform.

The student oath was taken out of schools with a reform introduced by AKP as part of a “democratisation package” in 2013.

“Where were you between 2013 and 2018,’’ Erdoğan said. ‘’Turkey owes all its success to the reforms conducted over the past 16 years. We are going to do away with all of the outdated structures that are crippling Turkey.’’