Venice Commission concerned about attacks against Turkey’s Constitutional Court

Venice Commission President Gianni Buquicchio said that he is concerned about attacks against the Constitutional Court of Turkey, in a statement released on Wednesday.
 
Buquicchio stated that he was informed about statements by representatives of the Turkish government harshly criticizing the Constitutional Court of Turkey, during his visit to İstanbul.
 
“This Court plays a crucial role to uphold the core values of the Council of Europe: the rule of law, democracy and human rights. Recent decisions of the Court have made an important contribution to strengthening the independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression in Turkey. Through these decisions the Court has shown its ability to effectively fulfil its constitutional role as an independent and impartial body defending the values enshrined in the Turkish Constitution,” said Buquicchio.
 
Buquicchio stated that the increased importance of the Constitutional Court of Turkey follows the constitutional reform of 2010 which was initiated by the government and endorsed by the Turkish people in a referendum.
 
“This new role of the Court opens the perspective that in the future Turkey will be able to solve most human rights issues domestically and will no longer be one of the countries found most often in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights by the Strasbourg Court. For this reason it is in the interest of Turkey that a national court provides effective protection of human rights and the rule of law,” he said.
 
He also added that he was concerned about recent statements criticizing the Court for exercising its constitutional functions.
 
“While courts are not exempt from public criticism and democratic debate, excessive criticism by holders of public office risks undermining their independence, and, in this specific case, jeopardizing the important progress already made in Turkey. I therefore call on all public authorities and media to cease the attacks against the Constitutional Court and not to question its role as the independent and impartial organ of the state defending human rights and the rule of law,” read Buquicchio’s statement.

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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.
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