Two local courts in Istanbul have rejected to comply with an order from Constitutional Court to release two prominent jailed journalists, plunging the country into a constitutional crisis where the top court’s binding and final rulings are no longer upheld by lower bodies.
Last week, Turkey’s constitutional court decided that rights of journalists Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay for fair trial had been violated during legal proceedings and ordered the local court in Istanbul to release them. The ruling would set a precedent for the release of more than 100 imprisoned journalists.
But 27th High Criminal Court in Istanbul refused to follow the top court and decided to keep Mehmet Altan in jail. Mehmet Altan’s lawyer applied to the court with an official document from Constitutional Court, urging the local court to comply with the ruling.
On Monday, 27th and 14th High Criminal Courts in Istanbul refused to release Mr. Altan and Mr. Alpay. Both courts said in their reasoning that “the rights of journalists were not violated.”