The Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) has launched an investigation into judge Ahmet Çakmak for objecting against Erdoğan’s presidential candidacy. Erdoğan’s third-time candidacy stirred the debate on whether he can legitimately run for office as he was completing his second term.
After Erdoğan announced that he would run for the office for the third time in the May 14 presidential elections and the Supreme Election Council (YSK) approved his candidacy, thousands of people as well as political parties filed applications with the YSK.
Judge Ahmet Çakmak was amongst those who objected to Erdoğan’s candidacy.
In his appeal to the YSK on March 28, Çakmak reminded that anyone with the qualifications to vote can object to the candidacy and emphasized that he made the application "as a citizen." Drawing attention to the fact that Erdoğan was elected president twice in 2014 and 2018, Çakmak noted in the appeal that the decision to renew the elections was taken by the president, not the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and said that "Erdoğan cannot be nominated for president."
Following his objection, Turkey’s top judicial body HSK has launched an investigation into Çakmak, the daily Cumhuriyet reported on June 14.
Çakmak’s lawyer and former President of the Judges' Union, Mustafa Karadağ, criticized the move and said "the judge's duty is to protect the constitution."
“The meaning of the investigation is to express to the president that they take care of him and that they are under his protection. No penalty can be imposed as a result of this investigation," Karadağ said.
Erdoğan became president for the first time in the presidential elections held in 2014.
He later took office as the first president of the new executive presidential system in the elections held in June 2018.
Article 110 of the Constitution says that “A person may be elected as the President of the Republic for two terms at most,” whereas Article 116 says “If the Assembly decides to renew the elections during the second term of the President of the Republic, he/she may once again be a candidate.”
However, it was Erdoğan who decided to renew the elections. Despite this, the YSK rejected the objections against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's candidacy.
Pro-government figures argued that the presidential elections in 2014 were held under the “old (parliamentary) system” and the elections in 2018 were held under the “new (presidential) system.” The main argument of those who defend this view is that everything has been “reset” with the new system initiated after the 2017 referendum consolidating the presidential system.