A member of Turkey’s Constitutional Court has criticized Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu for targeting court head Zühtü Arslan, as he said that authorities can’t give orders to the judiciary.
Soylu on Sept. 14 Arslan during a speech over the top court’s decision to cancel a provision in the Law on Demonstrations and Public Meetings (Law 2911) which said “demonstrations and marches cannot be held on intercity highways.”
“I call out to Constitutional Court President from here. As we are a ‘free’ country, you do not need police protection. Then go to work with your bicycle. As everything is very safe, then go to work like that,” Soylu said.
“Why do you need police protection? I am up for that, are you, Mr. Constitutional Court President? I am up for that. I am willing to go to work alone, with my car. Are you?” he added.
In response, court member Engin Yıldırım shared a picture of himself with a bicycle on Twitter, as he reminded the minister of the Constitution’s 138th Article that says, “No body, authority or individual has the right to give orders to courts and judges.”
“The judges are independent. They issue rulings in accordance with the Constitution and the law. The legislative and executive bodies need to abide by court rulings and these bodies can never change them or delay their implementation,” Yıldırım said.
Soylu’s targeting of Arslan came after the Constitutional Court on Sept. 11 ruled in favor of a group of miners whose intercity march was blocked by the authorities back in October 2019. The Interior Ministry had cited the Law 2911 as the reason for why the miners’ demonstration was blocked, which forbids inter-city marches. In line with the miners’ application, the Constitutional Court cancelled the relevant provision in the law.