Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked a debate within the country’s political spheres by advocating for a new constitution to address the conflict among the country’s top courts. With these remarks, Erdogan has entered the fray of the judicial crisis.
The legal crisis erupted on Wednesday (November 8) when the appeals Court of Cassation made a complaint of criminal nature against judges of the Constitution Court.
The Constitution Court passed a ruling last month that Can Atalay, a jailed parliamentarian should be released.
However, the top appeals court deemed the Constitutional Court’s ruling as unconstitutional. This has created a legal tangle which experts have called hard to predict.
“Unfortunately, the Constitutional Court has made many mistakes in a row at this point, which seriously saddens us,” Erdogan told reporters, as per text pubilshed by his office.
The appeals court move has been met with resistance. Turkey’s bar association and the principal opposition party CHP have called verdict an “attempted coup”. There have been demonstrations by hundreds of members with lawyers donning their legal robes and chanting “justice” on streets of Ankara.
“The president, who takes his power from the constitution, supports Court of Cassation’s actions ignoring the constitution,” said Main opposition leader Ozgur Ozel. He urged the president to protect the constitution.
The Court of Cassation issued a statement on the conflict, a rare move in itself, and lashed out at the Constitutional Court accusing it of dragging legal system into chaos.
“The Court of Cassation is ready to provide necessary support for works on legal and constitutional (amendments) in order to eliminate the problems arisen by the implementation of individual applications,” it said.
Erdogan’s call for a new constitution has drawn criticism.
“His preference is to do things according to the constitution. That is why he has amended the current constitution in 2010 and 2017 and is now talking about a completely new one,” said Gareth Jenkins, an Istanbul-based political analyst.