Turkish Constitutional Court President Zühtü Arslan has said that not abiding by the top court's rulings on individual applications would render the constitution "meaningless and dysfunctional" in an apparent reference to local courts' recent refusals to implement them.
"The constitution and the law give the authority to look into individual applications to the Constitutional Court and therefore, the necessity to determine how the right violation will be removed emerges," Arslan said on Feb. 9 during the swearing-in ceremony of İrfan Fidan, who was elected as a member of the court.
"When a rights violation is determined, it orders it to be removed. Hence, this is not an issue of choice or will, but an obligation that stems from the law and the nature of individual applications," he said.
Arslan's remarks came after two Istanbul courts refused to implement a rights violation ruling concerning former main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu by the Constitutional Court. The issue stirred a debate in Turkey, with the opposition calling on the local courts to abide by the top court's rulings.
Most recently, the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court on Feb. 8 finally accepted the ruling of the top court, which ruled that Berberoğlu's right to participate in politics and to personal freedom and security were violated, in second such ruling in his case.
A day later, Arslan said that the top court sends its rights violation rulings to the related institutions in order for them to be removed.
"The duty of the related institutions is to remove the violation and take necessary steps to prevent similar violations," Arslan said.
"The failure to implement Constitutional Court rulings would render the constitution completely meaningless and dysfunctional. It would then be impossible to protect the values that hold us together in an environment that the society's trust in the law and state is shattered," he noted.
The top court last week sent the second rights violation ruling it issued in the Berberoğlu case to parliament and the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HGK) with an emphasis on protecting the constitutional order.
Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop slammed the court for doing so, saying that the decision they received "has a part that can be called a political notice."
"The court made a call on parliament, which is not among its duties or authorities. The fact that it gives advice is clearly an excess of power. It turned the ruling into a political statement," Şentop, who was among the audience alongside President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 9, said in response.