Venice Commission concerned about attacks against Turkey's Constitutional Court

Venice Commission President Gianni Buquicchio said that he is concerned about attacks against the Constitutional Court of Turkey, in a statement released on Wednesday.
Buquicchio stated that he was informed about statements by representatives of the Turkish government harshly criticizing the Constitutional Court of Turkey, during his visit to İstanbul.
“This Court plays a crucial role to uphold the core values of the Council of Europe: the rule of law, democracy and human rights. Recent decisions of the Court have made an important contribution to strengthening the independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression in Turkey. Through these decisions the Court has shown its ability to effectively fulfil its constitutional role as an independent and impartial body defending the values enshrined in the Turkish Constitution,” said Buquicchio.
Buquicchio stated that the increased importance of the Constitutional Court of Turkey follows the constitutional reform of 2010 which was initiated by the government and endorsed by the Turkish people in a referendum.
“This new role of the Court opens the perspective that in the future Turkey will be able to solve most human rights issues domestically and will no longer be one of the countries found most often in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights by the Strasbourg Court. For this reason it is in the interest of Turkey that a national court provides effective protection of human rights and the rule of law,” he said.
He also added that he was concerned about recent statements criticizing the Court for exercising its constitutional functions.
“While courts are not exempt from public criticism and democratic debate, excessive criticism by holders of public office risks undermining their independence, and, in this specific case, jeopardizing the important progress already made in Turkey. I therefore call on all public authorities and media to cease the attacks against the Constitutional Court and not to question its role as the independent and impartial organ of the state defending human rights and the rule of law,” read Buquicchio’s statement.

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