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Turkish Parliament Removes Imprisoned Opposition Lawmaker’s Seat, Defying Constitutional Court Decision - 175 Views

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Turkish Parliament Removes Imprisoned Opposition Lawmaker’s Seat, Defying Constitutional Court Decision

In defiance of a ruling made by the Constitutional Court in September, the Turkish Parliament has stripped Can Atalay, an imprisoned opposition lawmaker, of his parliamentary status. Atalay, a lawyer and human rights activist elected to parliament in May while in prison, faced months of legal and political turmoil, culminating in the Court of Appeals’ decision to unseat him.

The Constitutional Court had previously ruled in favor of Atalay’s release, citing violations of his freedoms and rights to hold office. However, in an unprecedented move in November, the court of appeals filed a criminal complaint against Constitutional Court justices who supported Atalay’s release. The accusation centered on alleged violations of the constitution, and the court of appeals signaled its intention to instruct parliament to begin the process of unseating Atalay.

As the court’s decision was read in the Turkish parliament, opposition lawmakers expressed their discontent. Some lawmakers booed and displayed signs advocating “Freedom to Can Atalay,” while one individual threw a copy of the Turkish constitution at Deputy Speaker Bekir Bozdag.

Erkan Bas, chair of the left-wing Worker’s Party of Turkey, the party Atalay represented, denounced the move as “not only irregular but also illegal,” describing it as the culmination of a coup attempt that disregarded the Constitution.

Can Atalay, convicted last year along with seven others for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government by organizing nationwide protests in 2013, maintains his innocence. Despite his rejection of the accusations, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The ongoing legal and political clashes highlight the tensions within the Turkish political landscape.


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