News / Europe

Tensions Rise Between Turkey's Government and Courts

FILE - Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to the media in Istanbul.
FILE - Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to the media in Istanbul.
Dorian Jones
— Tensions are rising between Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and its constitutional court.  Recent court decisions could signal a new political confrontation. Turkey’s constitutional court has dealt the ruling AKP party a series of legal blows in the past few weeks.

The court overturned a ban on the social media site Twitter, while legislation giving the government greater power over judges and prosecutors was struck down.  

For Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan the decisions have little to do with justice.
He says everyone should know the limits of their authority, if they want to do politics, they could do it after taking off their judge's robes.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party, known as CHP, condemned the prime minister's attack.

CHP parliament deputy and former European Court of Human Rights judge Riza Turmen says the last check to the prime minister’s power is under threat.

"And the fact that the prime minister is not too happy with the decisions of the constitutional court indicate how much we like checks and balances, which are indispensable in any democratic country," said Turmen.

But Erdogan and his party claim he is defending democracy, says political analyst Atilla Yesilada of Global Source Partners.

"AKP's 45 percent showing in the local elections in his mind, gave him the mandate to run Turkey single handedly.  As a result, constitutional court decisions that are not to his liking interfere with the democratic mandate of Turkey, in his view that is," said Yesilada.

Erdogan claims he is facing a conspiracy.  He has removed thousands of police officers and hundreds of judges from their posts, following the start of graft probes against his government.

Milliyet newspaper political columnist Asli Aydintasbas says AKP's suspicions of the constitutional court are being heightened because of the August presidential election.

"There is a rumor milling in AKP circles that maybe the head of the constitutional court, Hasim Killic, he would be a potential candidate against Erdogan in the upcoming presidential elections, and the paranoia is absolutely crippling for AKP," said Aydintasbas. "Now the head of the constitutional court is a revered judge, he has not signaled to anybody that he is interested in any position."

Visiting Carnegie Europe scholar Sinan Ulgen says the Erdogan-court disputes can strengthen democracy.

"If they can be settled on the basis of mutual agreement that would tend to strengthen the democratic standards of the country," Ulgen said. "The risk is that members of the constitutional court are appointed also by the president.  And if Erdogan becomes president he would then have an inclination to appoint people at the constitutional court that would not challenge his authority to rule."

Some political analysts say the constitutional court controversy is likely to add more importance to the August election.

For government supporters, a triumph in the polls offers the opportunity to confirm the democratic will of the people; for its detractors it would likely mark the end of the last check to Erdogan’s power.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid