Constitutional Court top judge Arslan: state of emergency decrees cannot be brought to the CC

The Presiding Judge of the Constitutional Court, Zühtü Arslan, spoke at a ceremony to mark the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Constitutional Court. Arslan, defending the rejection decision passed over state of emergency decrees with the force of law, also signalled that the application made over the referendum would be thrown out.

26 Nisan 2017 Çarşamba, 12:43
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The Presiding Judge of the Constitutional Court, Zühtü Arslan, speaking at a ceremony to mark the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Constitutional Court, said, ‘The goal of extraordinary administrations should be to protect and defend the constitutional order.’ Arslan’s comment, ‘Let nobody expect us to overstep constitutional boundaries’ in accounting for the Constitutional Court’s rejection of applications made over state of emergency decrees with the force of law has been interpreted as a signal that the application over the referendum will also be thrown out.

Constitutional Court Presiding Judge Arslan said, ‘Our court has decided, giving consideration to explicit constitutional law, that it has no jurisdiction to review state of emergency decrees with the force of law. Annulment suits have been filed with the Constitutional Court over certain state of emergency decrees with the force of law and in these suits the preliminary examination stage has been completed and examination of the merits has commenced.

THE TURNOUT IN EXCESS OF 85% IN THE REFERENDUM IS AN ATTAINMENT FOR OUR DEMOCRACY 

The Presiding Judge of the Constitutional Court, Arslan, speaking at a ceremony to mark the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Constitutional Court, commented on the constitutional amendment referendum held on 16 April. Arslan, stating that the provision of justice was one of the most important indicators of contemporary civilisation, said, ‘In the referendum held on 16 April, our people went to the polls with a high degree of participation and great democratic maturity. The turnout in excess of 85% in the referendum is on its own an attainment for our democracy. I take this opportunity to express the wish that the referendum will be auspicious for our country and people. Independently of the referendum, according to our Constitution, the Republic of Turkey is a law-based democratic, secular and welfare state informed by the indivisible integrity of the state, national sovereignty and justice and based on the separation of powers and human rights. It should be the joint responsibility of all of us to transport the democratic republic having these characteristics that express our constitutional identity to a level over and beyond contemporary civilisation to which its founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk pointed and as is expressed in the preamble to the Constitution. The provision of justice is without doubt one of the most important indicators of contemporary civilisation.’

THE TURKISH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT WILL ALSO CONTINUE TO ADJUDICATE WHILE REMAINING WITHIN CONSTITUTIONAL BOUNDARIES

Arslan, stressing that the goal of extraordinary administrations is to ensure a return to ordinary periods, said ‘In extraordinary periods, it is common knowledge that important duties fall to constitutional courts. The most important of these is to protect basic rights and freedoms against infringements that exceed the exigencies of situations that have given rise to the state of extraordinariness. With constitutional courts performing this duty, the extraordinary administration must without doubt act within constitutional boundaries. As such, the Turkish Constitutional Court will also continue to adjudicate while remaining within constitutional boundaries when it comes both to reviewing norms and individual applications.’

EXAMINATION OF THE MERITS HAS COMMENCED IN ANNULMENT SUITS OVER STATE OF EMERGENCY DECREES WITH THE FORCE OF LAW

Constitutional Court Presiding Judge Arslan, noting that it was manifest that suits could not be filed with the Constitutional Court into decrees with the force of law issued in state of emergency periods, continued, ‘Our court has decided, giving consideration to explicit constitutional law, that it has no jurisdiction to review state of emergency decrees with the force of law. On the other hand, it has been ascertained that the constitution maker has envisaged judicial review of the decrees in question following parliamentary approval. Indeed, annulment suits have been filed with the Constitution Court over certain decrees with the force of law that have been approved and enacted by parliament; in these suits the preliminary examination stage has been completed and examination of the merits has commenced.’ 

THERE HAS BEEN A SERIOUS INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUAL APPLICATIONS IN THE AFTERMATH OF 15 JULY

Arslan, stating the number of individual applications ruled on last year was greater than in 2015, said, ‘The coup attempt has affected our court just as it has all institutions and public entities. There has been a serious increase in the number of individual applications in the aftermath of 15 July. With the number of applications made until 15 July in 2016 being 12,712, 68,044 applications were made in the remaining five and half months of the year. In the first months of 2017, too, a number of applications in excess of numbers in ordinary periods is continuing to come. There are currently a full 101,557 applications pending before our court. This number is greater than the total number of applications made from 47 countries to the European Court of Human Rights.’

PROHIBITIVE RULINGS BY INTERNATIONAL JUDICIAL ORGANS OVER HEADSCARVES COURT ATTENTION

Constitutional Court Presiding Judge Arslan, commenting that a position that closes the door to refugees and prohibits headscarves in public space is incompatible with human rights, said, ‘Many constitutional courts in Europe and in the same vein the European Court of Human Rights were established following the Second World War in reaction to the widespread human rights violations that had been experienced and the totalitarian regimes that had given rise to these violations. The reason for the existence of the said courts is to protect fundamental rights and freedoms. In spite of the historical facts and at the point we have reached following the dozens of wars, massacres and systematic rights violations in the last century, the experiencing of similar eclipses of reason and conscience is nothing but a huge tragedy. Even more serious is the spilling into the judicial sphere of the xenophobia and Islamophobia that is gaining a social and political footing. In this context, prohibitive rulings by international judicial organs particularly over headscarves court attention. This position that, on the one hand, closes the door to refugees and, on the other, prohibits headscarves in public space is incompatible with human rights that are paramount among European values.’ 

SEATING ARRANGEMENT NOT TO PERİNÇEK’S LIKING

A ceremony was held in the Constitutional Court’s Grand Chamber to mark the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Constitutional Court. The ceremony, hosted by the Presiding Judge of the Constitutional Court, Arslan, was attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Parliamentary Speaker İsmail Kahraman, Prime-Minister Binali Yıldırım, Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar, Deputy Prime-Ministers Numan Kurtulmuş and Tuğrul Türkeş, Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ, Minister of National Defence Fikri Işık, Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu, Minister of Finance Naci Ağbal, Minister of Development Lütfi Elvan, Minister of Customs and Trade Bülent Tüfenkci, Minister of National Education İsmet Yılmaz, Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs Veysel Eroğlu, Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Ahmet Aydın, AK Party Deputy General Chair Hayati Yazıcı, CHP Deputy General Chair Bülent Tezcan, HDP Spokesperson Osman Baydemir and Supreme Election Council Chair Sadi Güven

President Erdoğan accompanied Constitutional Court Presiding Judge Zühtü Arslan on his arrival.

At the ceremony, the guests, after having stood in silence and rendered the national anthem, watched a promotional film about the Constitutional Court. It has been learned that Doğu Perinçek, dissatisfied with his place in the seating arrangement, left the chamber before the programme started.