Jailed columnist Türköne asks the Presidency of the Constitutional Court to resolve the discrepancies in its case-law
Jailed academic and former Zaman columnist Mümtazer Türköne, who has been behind bars since August 2016 as part of the “Zaman trial,” at the end of which he was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months in prison on the charge of “terrorist organization membership,” has filed an objection with the Constitutional Court, which ruled late last year that his detention was not in violation of his rights to liberty and security and freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
In their petition dated 22 January 2020, Türköne and his lawyers reminded the top court about previous Constitutional Court judgments in the applications of former Zaman columnists Şahin Alpay and Ali Bulaç, who were Türköne’s co-defendants in the Zaman trial, asking the top court to resolve the discrepancies in its case-law. The Constitutional Court had ruled in favor of Alpay and Bulaç.
The objection notes that Türköne’s pre-trial detention of over 41 months is based on his newspaper columns, just as it had been in the case of Alpay, and other journalists in whose applications the Constitutional Court found rights violations.
Türköne pointed out in his objection that instead of the Plenary, his application was reviewed by the Second Section of the Constitutional Court, composed of judges who had cast dissenting votes in Alpay and Bulaç’s applications.
Türköne’s lawyer said: “While the applications where the Plenary found a violation of rights concerning freedom of the press and freedom of expression, such as those of Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, were reviewed by the Plenary, the application on behalf of Mümtazer Türköne was examined and ruled on by the Second Section. The Plenary has not ruled on Mümtazer Türköne’s application. This is against the Constitutional Court’s case-law.”