Turkey's Constitutional Court has sent the second rights violation ruling it issued in the case of former Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu to parliament and the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HGK) with an emphasis on protecting the constitutional order.
The court released the justified decision on its ruling at 3:05 a.m. on Feb. 3 and ordered it to be sent to parliament and the HSK "since it's also their duty to remove the rights violation."
"The protection of the constitutional order is not the Constitutional Court's duty only," the top court said.
"Not implementing the rulings of the Constitutional Court over whatever reason means the heavy violation of the principle of the superiority of law and the constitutional order that's based on this principle," it said.
The Constitutional Court on Jan. 21 ruled that Berberoğlu's right to participate in politics and to personal freedom and security were violated, in second such ruling in his case.
The ruling, which was adopted unanimously, was sent to the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court for a retrial and the removal of the rights violations. The court stressed that its rulings are binding when sending it to the lower court.
Berberoğlu on Oct. 26, 2020 applied to the Constitutional Court following two local courts' refusal to implement the top court's ruling in his case. The application was filed by Berberoğlu's lawyer Yiğit Acar.
Both Istanbul's 15th High Criminal Court and 14th High Criminal Court rejected Berberoğlu's appeal and ignored the Constitutional Court's Sept. 17-dated ruling that the former deputy’s rights were violated.
The Constitutional Court on Oct. 9 published a detailed ruling on the application of Berberoğlu, saying that the politician’s rights had been violated since legal proceedings against him should have been suspended due to his re-election as a member of parliament on June 24, 2018.
The top court at the time said that it is against the law for the trial process to continue against a lawmaker unless the parliament lifts his immunity again. Berberoğlu had his immunity lifted for the parliamentary term of 2015-2018, but his re-election in the June 24, 2018 elections renewed his immunity.
MİT trucks case
Berberoğlu was sentenced to five years and 10 months in jail in the case into a story on National Intelligence Agency (MİT) trucks filled with weapons bound for Syria. He was accused of providing footage of the trucks to journalist Can Dündar and was sent to prison in 2017.
He was re-elected to the parliament in the June 24, 2018 elections but was not released from jail until Sept. 20, 2018, when the Court of Cassation postponed the execution of the sentence due to his re-election as a lawmaker.
On June 4, 2020 parliament stripped Berberoğlu of his deputyship, along with two other lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). After this move, Berberoğlu was arrested again to serve the remaining of his sentence. But on the same day, Berberoğlu was transferred from open prison to house arrest as part of measures against COVID-19.
Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said on Jan. 22 that the top court's rulings are “binding."
“These rulings can be criticized but this does not mean that they will not be implemented. Rulings are there to be applied. In the state of law, rules and decrees ordered by the law are valid. This is what needs to happen within the framework of the Constitutional Court's decisions,” Gül told reporters.
The Constitutional Court on Feb. 3 said that public institutions are obliged to abide by the constitution and protect it, hence its justified decision must also be received by parliament.
Parliament Speaker Şentop criticizes top court
Later on Feb. 3, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop criticized the top court for emphasizing "loyalty to the constitution."
Although saying that lower courts should abide by Constitutional Court rulings, Şentop noted that the justified decision "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 told CNN Türk.
CHP: Berberoğlu should resume his duty in parliament
CHP deputy leader Muharrem Erkek, meanwhile, said that Berberoğlu must resume his duty as a lawmaker in parliament.
"The Constitutional Court sent its ruling to parliament, the HSK and the Justice Ministry to remind them of the constitutional order and the superiority of law. I'm calling on the Parliament Speaker's Office and the HSK to do their part. Istanbul deputy Berberoğlu must be in parliament," Erkek said.