Concern is growing in Turkey over the deterioration of its rule of law and judicial institutions after the country’s top court was blatantly ignored by government and lower courts earlier this month.
On 11 January, a lower court refused to abide by a ruling from Turkey’s Constitutional Court, which serves as the guardian of the constitution and the public’s constitutionally guaranteed rights.
It was the first time another body within the country’s judicial structure has defied a top court ruling, marking a serious deviation from the past when attacks were limited to verbal political lashings.
The entire premise of a state of law is in danger if you have a lower court refusing to recognise a ruling from the country’s highest court.”
– Osman Can, former constitutional court rapporteur and AKP MP
The constitutional court, in an 11-6 majority decision, had ruled that two imprisoned journalists, Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay, should be released pending a verdict since their basic rights had been violated.
The journalists were arrested 18 months ago and are accused of being part of the media wing of the Gulen movement which the government has designated a terrorist group and accuses of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt.
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Featured image courtesy of AP