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Turkey’s judicial crisis deepens as Erdogan weighs in

Erdogan’s stepping into a crisis between Turkey’s two high courts is widely seen as yet another sign of erosion of rule of law and judicial independence in Turkey.
Turkey's President and leader of the Justice and Development (AK) Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during his party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

ANKARA — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan weighed in Friday on an unprecedented clash between the country’s two high courts, openly siding with the Court of Cassation, which filed criminal complaints against the Constitutional Court, the county's top court.

"Unfortunately, the Constitutional Court has made many mistakes one after another, seriously saddening us,” Erdogan told journalists accompanying him on his return to Turkey from Uzbekistan. “The Constitutional Court cannot underestimate the step taken by the Court of Cassation on this matter.” 

The remarks came two days into a crisis that began when the Court of Cassation, in an unprecedented move, filed a criminal complaint against justices of the Constitutional Court earlier this week, openly defying a court ruling for the release of newly elected opposition lawmaker Can Atalay.

Atalay has been locked up for over a year along with other rights activists convicted of attempting to overthrow the government during the 2013 nationwide protests. 

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