Kurdish deputy’s lawyers appeal YSK ban at Constitutional Court


Protestors carry a huge picture of independent candidate Hatip Dicle during a rally, protesting the decision of the Supreme Board of Election on Hatip Dicle, in Diyarbak?r, Turkey, 23 June 2011.
The lawyers of a Kurdish deputy who was last week stripped of his right to assume his post in Parliament by Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Monday appealed the board’s decision at the Constitutional Court based on a constitutional provision which says no authority other than Parliament can strip a deputy of his or her mandate.
One of Hatip Dicle’s lawyers and the head of the Diyarbak?r Bar Association, Emin Aktar, said in televised remarks on Sunday that Dicle earned the status of deputy on the evening of the June 12 elections and that the authority to revoke this status lays with Parliament, according to Article 84 of the Constitution. He said according to the Constitution the YSK should have delivered the court ruling on Dicle to Parliament and Parliament should have decided on Dicle’s mandate. According to Aktar, although the Constitution says an appeal can be filed regarding a Parliament decision to strip a deputy of his mandate at the top court and YSK decisions are not open to judicial review, since the YSK usurped the authority of Parliament they can still appeal the YSK decision at the top court.
Article 84 of the Constitution says, “The loss of membership [of a deputy], through a final judicial sentence or deprivation of legal capacity, shall take effect after the final court decision on the matter has been communicated to Turkish Parliament.”

Dicle’s lawyers’ appeal is a reminiscent of remarks by Constitutional Court President Ha?im K?l?ç, who last week said in comments on the YSK decision that “they may also have something to say.” “Let’s wait for a few days. Let’s see the developments and maybe we may also have something to say,” K?l?ç said. K?l?ç is thought to have implied a possible appeal at the top court.

The YSK voted unanimously last Tuesday night to strip Dicle of his right to hold office over his earlier separate terrorism-related conviction, which led to outrage among the pro-Kurdish party and its supporters. Dicle was convicted of “disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK” in 2009 by the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court, and the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the decision in March of this year. The court sentenced Dicle to one year, eight months in prison on terrorism charges. Dicle is also currently on trial in the 6th Diyarbak?r High Criminal Court as a suspect in a separate investigation into the outlawed PKK’s alleged secret urban branch, the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK). He was detained in December 2009 as part of the KCK probe and has been in custody since then.

Some legal experts, on the other hand, are of the opinion that an appeal to the top court would not yield positive results for Dicle since YSK decisions are not open to judicial review.

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