Turkey's high judiciary gears up for presidential elections across three branches

Due to the expiration of the terms of office of the presidents of Turkey's high judiciary, presidential elections will be held on March 21 for the Constitutional Court, March 25 for the Court of Cassation, and April 23 for the Council of State.

Duvar English

As the terms of office of the presidents of the Constitutional Court (AYM), Court of Cassation, and Council of State will expire, presidential elections will be held in March and April.

The terms of office for the presidents of Turkey's high judiciary are set to expire for Zühtü Arslan of the AYM on April 20, Mehmet Akarca of the Court of Cassation on March 24, and Zeki Yiğit of the Council of State on May 7.

AYM members to choose new president on March 21

The first election will take place in the AYM on March 21.

Arslan was not be able to be a candidate in the election due to the expiry of his term, yet he will be able to vote. Other members of the top court will be able to run for president.

In the election to be held at the General Assembly of the Constitutional Court, the candidate who secures the absolute majority by receiving the votes of at least eight out of 15 members will assume the presidency of the AYM for four years.

In the last elections, Arslan became the president even though President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) favored another candidate. The top court has become the center of attacks after its decisions against the government’s line.

Court of Cassation to vote on March 25

The Court of Cassation, the highest appeal court in the country, will hold elections for a new president on March 25.

Some 348 members of the high court will vote to determine the president who will serve for four years.

Each member of the Court of Cassation can be a candidate for the presidency, and candidates will need to receive an absolute majority of the votes to be elected.

The current president Akarca and Muhsin Şentürk, the President of the Third Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation which is responsible for the review of terrorism cases, were reportedly among the candidates.

The Court of Cassation has been in row with the AYM and it even filed criminal complaint against the AYM members over the feud between imprisonment of (former) lawmaker Can Atalay.

Even though AYM ruled for Atalay’s release, the Court of Cassation did not abide its decision despite the Turkish Constitution and the parliament revoked Atalay’s lawmaker status.

Council of State to start election process in April

The Council of State, the highest administrative court in the country, is required by law to start the presidential election process on April 23, 15 days before May 7 when the current president's term of office expires.