New Turkish gov’t to boycott Supreme Court of Appeals for defying Erdoğan

New Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ have reportedly decided to boycott the Supreme Court of Appeals after the court defied President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by inviting Turkish Bar Association (TBB) Chairman Metin Feyzioğlu to deliver a speech at the opening ceremony of the new judicial year on Sept. 1.

The Taraf daily reported on Tuesday that Davutoğlu and Bozdağ will not participate in the ceremony as a show of support for Erdoğan.

On Aug. 15, Erdoğan declared that he would not attend the ceremony if Feyzioğlu were invited to speak at the event. The conflict between Erdoğan and Feyzioğlu dates back to early May, when the former stormed out of the Council of State building after scolding the TBB chairman for his speech. Feyzioğlu, during his address, questioned the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) violations of personal rights and freedoms.

Erdoğan interrupted Feyzioğlu’s speech in response, claiming that it was political and full of untruths. He then left the hall.

After Erdoğan’s remarks in August, Supreme Court of Appeals Chairman Ali Alkan publicly stated that he would raise the issue at a meeting of the court’s executive members. The meeting was held on Monday afternoon, with the court deciding that Feyzioğlu will be allowed to make an address at the opening ceremony.

Also on Monday, Erdoğan received Alkan at the Office of the Prime Ministry. The chair of the Supreme Court of Appeals visited Erdoğan to officially invite him to attend the opening ceremony of the new judicial year as the new president.

Feyzioğlu told the Turkish media on Monday that he will also attend the ceremony. “I will absolutely attend the event. The ceremony is organized by the Supreme Court of Appeals, but one of the hosts [of the ceremony] is the TBB. I am not a guest. I am one of the hosts of the event. The Supreme Court of Appeals has already sent us [the TBB] the program for the event,” he 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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