Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Constitutional Court to Hear CHP Petition

Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya / PHOTO from Hurriyet Daily News

The Constitutional Court announced today that it will hear the CHP's petition to annul the constitutional amendments passed last month. It is still not clear whether the Court will examine whether the articles are in line with the first three un-amendable articles of Turkey's 1982 military constitution. There is a legal debate as to whether such an examination is substantive or procedural, and thus whether it falls within the purview of the Court. In 2008, the Constitutional Court annulled a constitutional amendment on the headscarf on the grounds that it violated the first three unchangeable articles of Turkey's 1982 constitution (see June 7, 2008 post).

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said the Court's power of review extended only to procedural questions, taking the narrower view of what "procedural" means in this instance. Further, Arinc said the Court cannot meet to discuss the amendments until after the referendum on Sept. 12. However, Constitutional Court President Hasim Kilic said earlier that in the event the Constitutional Court decides to hear the appeal, a decision would be prior to Sept. 12.

Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, who brought the closure case against the AKP in 2008 and is thought to be preparing another, also weighed into the debate. According to Yalcinkaya, the amendments violate Article 2, and in doing, should be struck down. Yalcinkaya said the amendments were designed to undermine the judiciary and were a threat to separation of powers.

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