The last castle under fire

By: ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ

Everything links to everything else. The government is now fiercely attacking the Constitutional Court, both for the decisions it has made and those it is highly likely to make in the near future.

When the Court ruled against the ban on Twitter, it hit the nerves of the prime minister. When it finally annulled some articles of the law on Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), the court turned into a clear target for the government. The government is trying to produce all kinds of arguments against these decisions, none of which have any meaning in the eyes of the law.

On Twitter, the Constitutional Court acted like the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and said that the applicants, who had brought their cases before the Court as “individual” applications, were right; their freedom of expression had been violated by this far-reaching ban. Has the Court gone too far? It was just using its powers given to it by the 2010 amendments, which were introduced by this very government after the referendum. When the Court observed that “effective remedies” had been exhausted, only then did it dealt with the substance of the applications.

When it came to its decision on the HSYK law, everyone had known that the Court was going to annul some parts of the law since they are clearly in violation of the provisions of the Constitution on the independence of law, the separation of powers and so on. But the government and prime minister keep attacking the Court and its president, accusing him and the court of involvement in politics.

Obviously, the Constitutional Court has turned into the last resort for everyone in Turkey who would like to see a relief in this oppressive political atmosphere. And it is this mission that has made it a target. The tension between the government and the Court will grow with every passing day; the government is now planning to pass other laws that will give them and their agencies enormous powers.

Look at the draft law on the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). According to this law, MİT will have limitless access to any data that is kept by public agencies, civil society organizations and companies. When they request anything from any public agencies, their request will have priority. When an agent of MİT is caught committing a crime, the prosecutor will have to communicate with the organization and if the organization says the action was a part of the agent’s duty, the prosecution will immediately be stopped. MİT will have the power to make operations both in and outside the country. No document belonging to MİT can be published or revealed by the media. And if any media outlet publishes them, this would constitute a serious crime that warrants a heavy penalty.

What is the aim of all this? One needs to look at some Twitter posts by and speeches of government officials to understand. One of these politicians, for example, said on Twitter that “as soon as the MİT law is passed, they will go into the traitors’ caves.” He was referring to members of the Gülen movement here. Another very high-ranking politician’s words were recently leaked to the media when he said that “people want to see blood” when it comes to operations against members of the Gülen movement.

It is obvious that they are desperately trying to pass the MİT law to detain, harass and intimidate first the members of the Gülen movement, followed by whoever gives them a headache. In this “endeavor,” the Constitutional Court seems to be the last obstacle before they reach their final goals. Try to look at all the unprecedentedly harsh criticism of the Court from this angle as well.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN