Turkey’s Constitutional Court elects new president

Turkey’s Constitutional Court elected Justice Kadir Özkaya as its new president. Özkaya was one of the justices voted in favor of the release of former MP Can Atalay from prison.

Duvar English

Justice Kadir Özkaya on March 21 was elected as the President of Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM).

The former president Zühtü Arslan left its post after completion of his 12-year term and the 15-member top court met to elect a new president.

Özkaya secured the absolute majority with the votes of nine members while the other presidential candidate Yusuf Şevki Hakyemez received six votes.

Özkaya became an AYM rapporteur in 2005 and was appointed as a member of the Constitutional Court by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in December 2014. He has been serving as deputy president until today.

He was among the members of the AYM who found "violation" regarding the continued imprisonment of Can Atalay, who was not released despite being elected as lawmaker in 2023. 

Due to the expiry of his term of office, Özkaya will serve as president for two years even though the presidents serve four years in the office.

Arslan, Deputy President Hasan Tahsin Gökcan, member Muammer Topal, whose term expired, and members Muhammed Emin Kuz and Engin Yıldırım were appointed by former President Abdullah Gül.

Özkaya, who served as Deputy President until today, and members Yıldız Seferinoğlu, Basri Bağcı, İrfan Fidan, Recai Akyel, Yusuf Şevki Hakyemez and Selahaddin Menteş were appointed by President Erdoğan.

Members Kenan Yaşar, Rıdvan Güleç, and Muhterem İnce were appointed by the Parliament.

Arslan's term will end on April 20 and Kuz's term will end on May 12.

The justices appointed by President Erdoğan will have the majority in the AYM in 2024 even though they have not been completely in line with the government’s decisions.