Turkey’s Constitutional Court Limits President’s Power Over Military Trials

courtThe Constitutional Court has ruled to limit the Turkish president’s authority over trials of high-level commanders in the Supreme Court.

According to the top court’s latest ruling, the Council of State will give the final decision on the suspension from the profession of commanders tried by the Supreme Court, rather than the president.

The ruling came upon the appeal of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) to an article amended in the military law. The top court then cancelled the amendment, which had allowed the president to give the final decision in such cases, by 10 to 6 votes on Jan. 14.

Previously, military officials tried in the Supreme Court could have faced dismissal from office with the decision of the president and they would not able to appeal the decision. However, the Constitutional Court’s ruling will pave the way for these military officials to appeal in such cases. The Council of State will then make the final decision on the dismissals of military personnel tried by the Supreme Court.

“The decision of the president should be open to the judicial control, and it conflicts with the constitution to make these decisions ‘certain’ and closed to judicial control,” stated the Constitutional Court in its ruling.

It also ruled that closing the doors of appeal to generals conflicted Article 36 of the constitution. Article 36 states that “Everyone has the right of litigation either as a plaintiff or defendant and the right to a fair trial before the courts through legitimate means and procedures. No court shall refuse to hear a case within its jurisdiction.”