Top Turkish judicial body will not punish judges who defy the Constitutional Court judgments

The Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) has decided that it would not take action against the judges who defied the judgment of the Constitutional Court dated January 2018 ordering the release of writer Mehmet Altan that causing him to spend an extra 5 months in prison.


In January 2018, the Turkish Constitutional Court decided that the pretrial detention of Mehmet Altan was unlawful, and he should be released.

İstanbul’s 26th High Criminal Court however refused to comply with the order of Turkey’s Constitutional Court claiming that the Constitutional Court exceeded its authority.

The court’s resistance to the Constitutional Court judgment eventually ended, and he was released in June 2018 after the European Court of Human Rights also ruled that the pretrial detention of Mehmet Altan was unlawful and that he should be released.

Article 153 – Decisions of the Constitutional Court shall be binding on the legislative, executive, and judicial organs, on the administrative authorities, and on persons and corporate bodies.

Mehmet Altan’s lawyer, Figen Albuga Çalıkuşu filed a complaint about the judges, Selçuk Yalçın, Mehmet Akif Ayaz, Orkun Dağ and Seval Alaçam Sağlam, who defied the judgment of constitutional principle requires all courts shall comply with the judgments of the Constitutional Court.

Related news: Lawyers to Alpay, Altan say Constitutional Court rulings are binding on all

On May 30, 2022, the HSK notified the Altan`s lawyer that it would not take disciplinary action against the concerned judges and its decision on the matter was definite.

Professor of human rights law Kerem Altıparmak reacted the decision saying “The HSK decision essentially declares that there is no rule of law in Turkey. Because what distinguishes the rule of law from other normative systems is that if a rule is violated, it faces a sanction of state power. When it is not met with sanctions and the violation is not remedied, it is not a law, but it is only wish.”

“The judge has to act in accordance with the Constitution on paper. But if a judge acts unlawfully, this behaviour should meet with a sanction, and the consequences of the violation should be remedied for the victims. Otherwise, the rule requiring acting in accordance with the Constitution will be nothing more than a wish.” he also said.

Since 2014, the Council of Judges and Prosecutors has been controlled by the executive branch. After the constitutional amendments of 2017, the government control over the Council of Judges and Prosecutors became absolute.

The Turkish government has been promoting the judges and prosecutors who involved in a political show trial and breach human rights and freedoms rather than taking action about them. For instance, İstanbul judge Akın Gürlek and prosecutor Hasan Yilmaz who are responsible for unlawful imprisonment of Osman Kavala, journalists Can Dündar, Deniz Yüksel, Hidayet Karaca as well as hundreds of lawyers have been appointed as Deputy Minister of Justice by President Erdoğan.

Categories: Turkey Human Rights Blog

2 replies


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