Turkey’s Supreme Constitutional Court affirmed that failure of local courts to abide by their rulings is a serious violation of the constitution, and reiterated its call for a retrial of a former opposition deputy, and for his seat in Parliament.
The Supreme Constitutional Court, which is the highest judicial authority in the country, said in a statement on Wednesday that the right of “Anis Berberoglu” to vote, and his right to personal security and freedom had been violated by a decision of the local court, and stressed the need for a retrial and an end to his conviction, demanding the Supreme Criminal Court 14 in Istanbul to implement its provisions.
The Supreme Constitutional Court clarified that “Article 2 of the Constitution that supports the rule of law is not just words.”
She explained that Article 153 of the Constitution stipulates the full implementation of the decisions of the Constitutional Court, and failure to adhere to the ruling of the Supreme Court is a grave violation of the constitution.
The Supreme Constitutional Court also called on the parliament to take measures in line with the court’s rulings, and to restore the “Berberoglu” seat in parliament, and stressed that “protecting the constitutional order is not one of the duties of the Constitutional Court only,” referring to the responsibilities of Parliament and the Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors in Turkey.
The story of “Barbaroglu”
Barbaroglu, affiliated with the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), lost his seat in the Turkish parliament, which he won in the June 2018 elections, after he was convicted of terrorism-related charges.
Berberoglu was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for uncovering the issue of the Turkish intelligence services transporting weapons trucks to Syria, where Berberoglu was accused of leaking footage from trucks to opposition journalist “Jan Dundar”, and he was imprisoned in 2017.
After his re-election as a Member of Parliament in the elections of June 24, 2018, he was not released from prison until September 20, 2018, except when the Court of Cassation postponed the execution of the sentence due to his re-election as a deputy.
However, Parliament stripped Barbaroglu and two other representatives from the HDP of their parliamentary seats on June 4, 2020, in preparation for the resumption of his sentence, so the police arrested him again to serve the remainder of his sentence, and on the same day, due to the precautionary measures to combat the Corona epidemic, The Turkish authorities ordered that “Berberoglu” be placed under house arrest instead of imprisonment.
On October 9, the Supreme Constitutional Court decided that the rights of “Berberoglu” were violated because the legal procedures against him should have been suspended due to his re-election as a Member of Parliament on June 24, 2018.
In turn, on October 26, Barbaroglu submitted a request to the Constitutional Court after two local courts refused to implement the Supreme Court ruling in his case, as both the 15th Supreme Criminal Court in Istanbul and the 14th Supreme Criminal Court in Istanbul rejected Berberoglu’s appeal, and ignored Constitutional Court ruling violating the rights of the former representative.
On January 21, the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled the violation of the right of “Berberoglu” to participate in political life, personal freedom and security, in its second ruling in this case. The ruling, which was adopted unanimously by the members of the court, was sent to the 14th Supreme Criminal Court in Istanbul for a retrial, removing Violations of rights, and the Supreme Constitutional Court stressed that its rulings are binding when referred to the court of first instance.
For his part, Turkish Minister of Justice, “Abd al-Hamid Gül,” said on January 22 that the rulings of the Supreme Court are “binding,” but despite Gül’s statement, the local courts did not implement the Supreme Court’s decision.
Parliament Speaker criticizes the Supreme Court
In the meantime, Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Shantoub criticized the decision of the Supreme Constitutional Court, considering its decision a “political statement.”
Shantoub said that complying with the decisions of the Supreme Constitutional Court is a duty, and the local courts must comply, but it is the first time that the Supreme Constitutional Court has issued such a statement, adding, “It is not the duties and responsibilities of the Constitutional Court to issue this statement. Giving instructions to Parliament is a clear violation of its authority.”
He stressed that Parliament will send a written statement to the Supreme Constitutional Court about the content of the court’s reasoning of its decision.