The Turkish Constitutional Court (AYM) released a detailed rationale for its second ruling on legal violations in Can Atalay’s case on Tuesday, stressing the absolute binding nature of its rulings on fundamental rights and freedoms. “No authority can review or supervise decisions by the Constitutional Court on violations of these rights,” the AYM stated.
Once the detailed rationale is delivered to the Court of First Instance, a decision for release is expected to be issued immediately.
This statement follows the court’s observation that its previous decision in Atalay’s case, an MP from the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP), representing Hatay, had not been implemented. The failure to implement the ruling conflicts with Article 153, Paragraph 6 of the Turkish Constitution, which mandates total compliance from all branches of government and administrative authorities.
The AYM emphasised the significance of executing its decisions, noting that failure to do so undermines the right to an effective application, a crucial aspect of individual rights protected under the Constitution. The court highlighted that the failure to implement would render the right to apply to the Constitutional Court meaningless.
Regarding Atalay’s case, the AYM noted that the designated Court of First Instance failed to conduct a retrial, disregarding its duty to consider the constitutional rights of the applicant. The AYM pointed out that the Court of Cassation (Yargıtay) overstepped its authority by attempting to retry the case.
The AYM’s decision underscored the exclusive authority of the Constitutional Court in determining the constitutionality of public actions and decisions. The court asserted that no judicial body, including the first-instance court in this instance, has the right to question the binding nature of its decisions.
The AYM’s detailed rationale deepens the recent rift in the Turkish judiciary, centred around the case of Can Atalay. Traditionally adhering to the AYM’s authority, the Court of Cassation not only contested the AYM’s ruling but also initiated criminal complaints against its members. This divide has been exacerbated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s open support for the Court of Cassation’s defiance of the AYM’s decision, signalling a crucial moment in Turkey’s legal landscape and raising serious questions about judicial independence and the balance of power in the nation’s democratic framework.