Bekir Bozdag criticizes Turkish Constitutional Court's ruling

Sergio Conner
January 13, 2018

Lawyer Veysel Ok, who made the application to the Constitutional Court on behalf of Şahin Alpay, said the top court's decision could stand out as a milestone for journalist trials in Turkey.

Turkey's Constitutional Court on January 11 ruled to release jailed journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay, saying their rights had been violated.

"Whether we like the Constitutional Court's ruling or not, the authority that will make the right call is the first instance court", Binali Yildirim told reporters.

Sezgin Tanrikulu, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), said on Twitter that the penal courts' refusal to release the two was not legal and that they were being falsely imprisoned.

Alpay, a 74-year-old columnist and Altan, a 63-year-old writer and professor of economics, worked for publications linked to USA -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for the coup.

The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court has reportdely refused to comply with the Constitutional Court on a recent release judgement for 73-year-old columnist Şahin Alpay.

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Officials at the court were not available for comment.

Gunay, a Cumhuriyet journalist, was released in September following a ruling in a separate case.

Around 145 journalists are in jail, according to the Turkish Journalists' Association.

Numerous jailed reporters have been charged with spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or USA -based Fethullah Gülen's network, whom Ankara accuses of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt. He has denied orchestrating the coup and condemned it as against democracy.

Erdogan has said that some journalists helped nurture terrorists through their writing.

Both deny the charges lodged against them. The crackdown on democratic institutions has earned a rebuke from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Union, which warned that Turkey was undermining its prospects of joining the bloc.

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