AKP Gov’t signals block on individual applications to Constitutional Court

Turkish government is reviewing ways to diminish the Constitutional Court’s power to address individual applications, after the court overturned a ban on the micro-blogging platform Twitter, reports Today’s Zaman.

With the planned change, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government aims to halt direct individual appeals to the court, arguing that the cases should first be heard in the lower courts and, after the process is completed in these courts, then the Constitutional Court would have the right to hear the case.

The proposal for this amendment to diminish the powers of the Constitutional Court was brought to the agenda during the AK Party’s Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting late on Monday, as well as the Cabinet meeting.

The members discussed measures that could be taken to annul a previous regulation allowing the introduction of individual applications to the Constitutional Court in 2013.

On Tuesday afternoon, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asserted that the Twitter ruling “should be corrected,” while speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting.

According to the Radikal daily, Erdoğan ordered the Ministry of Justice to establish a commission composed of bureaucrats and AK Party jurists to review the proposition of a draft law to change the powers of the Constitutional Court law and bring this proposition to Parliament as soon as possible.

Reacting harshly to the court’s ruling to remove the ban on Twitter, Erdoğan suggested that the court’s members might be part of what he calls the “parallel structure.”

He said the Constitutional Court should have rejected the appeal without hearing it, arguing that the ban should have been challenged in the lower courts first.

After individual appeals to the court were discussed at the MYK meeting, the Ministry of Justice also made a statement regarding the court’s Twitter ruling, asserting that unless an individual appeal has already been heard by lower courts, it cannot be heard by the Constitutional Court.

In a written statement, the Ministry of Justice said that the court’s powers and functions are defined in Article 148 of the Constitution, according to which the court can hear individual applications after the local court trial is completed.

The Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday to stay the execution of Articles 14 and 19 of the Full Day Law concerning health-care personnel following an appeal by the Republican People’s Party (CHP). The court ruled that these articles of the law were against the Constitution, which stipulates that doctors employed at university hospitals must work a full day in their state positions and cannot work in a private practice at the same time.

With the articles of the law that were annulled by the court, those doctors working at university hospitals would not be fired if they did not leave their private posts and could continue working in private clinics alongside their state positions. Prior to the nullification of these articles, doctors were required to resign if they did not leave their positions in private clinics.

The Full Day Law went into effect in October 2011, stipulating that doctors employed at university hospitals must work a full day in their state positions and cannot work in private practice at the same time.

Several university hospitals had opposed the regulation, stating that they no longer had enough doctors in their hospitals because many had left their state posts to continue working in private clinics. These hospitals claimed that their services were failing and that people had difficulty in seeing a doctor at such university hospitals.



About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
This entry was posted in Turkey. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s