Erdoğan greenlights Constitutional Court overhaul

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, following his coalition partner’s comments the day before, said he would support lawmakers in restructuring the Constitutional Court (AYM), news website Diken reported on Thursday.

“If Parliament takes any new steps, I will gladly join in,” Erdoğan told reporters following parliament’s opening ceremony.

The president reiterated his stance on the death penalty, saying he would approve a bill reinstating capital punishment should lawmakers pass one in parliament.

Erdoğan’s junior coalition partner Devlet Bahçeli had brought forth the idea to restructure the AYM earlier in the week, saying the country’s top court had been shaped by previous military coups and its former parliamentary system, and that it wasn’t compatible with the current executive presidential system, which went into effect with Erdoğan’s election in 2018.

Bahçeli has repeatedly called for the reinstatement of the death penalty, which would end Turkey’s bid for the European Union.

Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop also endorsed the return of capital punishment in early September, following his meeting with European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) President Robert Spanó.

Turkey’s relationship with the EU has continued on high tensions for a while, peaking with Friday’s EU summit where bloc leaders decided to go ahead with previously proposed sanctions should Turkey continue what they call provocations regarding the Eastern Mediterranean dispute with Greece and Cyprus.