PM Erdoğan committing constitutional crime by not leaving his post

Controversy is growing over the legitimacy of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s position as prime minister and leader of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) because the Constitution requires that he resign from the post and sever his ties with any political party upon being elected president – according to Today’s Zaman.

According to Article 101 of the Constitution, once a person is elected president, his or her ties to their party, and their membership in Parliament, end. Weeks before the presidential election, Erdoğan said if elected president on Aug. 10 he would remain prime minister until Aug. 28, when he will take over the presidency.

Erdoğan is violating the Constitution and thus, committing a crime, according to opposition party members and experts.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) parliamentary group deputy chairman Engin Altay said publicly on Wednesday that his party will apply to the Constitutional Court and the Council of State if Erdoğan refuses to cut his ties with the prime ministry and AK Party leadership until he moves to the presidential palace. “We will file the applications on the grounds that Erdoğan is acting unlawfully,” Altay stated.

The CHP applied to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals on Tuesday, asking the office to take legal and administrative measures against Erdoğan for occupying three posts since being elected president on Sunday. In its petition, the main opposition party argued that Erdoğan is violating the Constitution and the law by remaining prime minister and head of the AK Party while having been elected president.

For Altay, Erdoğan is violating the Constitution and committing a serious crime by not leaving the posts he has been occupying after he is elected as the new president. “A president cannot violate the Constitution. His duty is to protect the Constitution and help state organizations work in harmony with the Constitution,” he noted.

Also on Wednesday, CHP spokesperson Haluk Koç told reporters that Erdoğan can no longer be considered a prime minister and AK Party leader after Aug. 15 at the latest — when the Supreme Election Board (YSK) is expected to officially declare the results of the presidential election. “They [AK Party] needn’t wait for Erdoğan to take over the presidency to cut off his ties with the prime ministry and AK Party leadership,” he noted.

In addition, Koç said, Erdoğan will be involved in illegalities and committing a constitutional crime if he continues to occupy the posts of prime minister and AK Party chairman after the YSK declares the official election results. He called on Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek to “take action” against Erdoğan.

CHP deputy Atilla Kart agrees with Koç. He called a press conference in Parliament on Wednesday and said the YSK will probably officially declare Erdoğan as the winner of the Aug. 10 presidential election and, after that, Erdoğan’s term as the prime minister and AK Party chairman will expire.

CHP deputy Rıza Türmen said Erdoğan is no longer a prime minister, a deputy or a party leader according to Article 101 of the Constitution. “In this case, his activities are no longer lawful. They should be canceled,” he said. Türmen is a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

In addition, journalist Tarhan Erdem, a founding member of the polling company KONDA, believes Erdoğan should resign from the post of prime minister and AK Party leader as he has been elected the new president. If he does not resign, Erdem stated, Erdoğan will be committing a constitutional crime.

In televised remarks on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah İşler defied Erdoğan’s critics. He said Erdoğan will remain in his posts until he officially moves to the Çankaya presidential palace on Aug. 28. He said the prime minister’s term expires when he takes the president’s oath and takes over the presidency. “This refers to Aug. 28 in this case,” İşler noted.

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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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