Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has started a sit-in at the Çağlayan Courthouse in İstanbul to protest the Supreme Court of Appeals’ Third Criminal Chamber’s refusal to comply with the Constitutional Court’s (AYM) decision to release a jailed lawmaker, Turkish media reported on Monday.
The ongoing judicial crisis was ignited by the case of Can Atalay, an opposition lawmaker from the Workers Party of Turkey (TİP) who filed a petition with the AYM claiming rights violations due to his continued incarceration despite acquiring parliamentary immunity in the May elections.
The AYM ruled in favor of Atalay, but the Supreme Court of Appeals defied this decision, sparking widespread criticism and accusations of a judicial coup.
Özgür Çelik, the CHP İstanbul provincial chairman, made a statement on social media regarding the sit-in.
“We are here at the İstanbul Courthouse to stand against the defiance of the constitutional order,” he declared. “We will be here tomorrow and in the following days. I invite all Istanbul residents who support the law and the constitution to join us in this democratic struggle,” Çelik added.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier Friday voiced explicit support for the Supreme Court of Appeals’ defiance of the AYM, signaling a willingness to use the judicial crisis to press ahead with plans to limit the power of the top court. Erdoğan’s comments draw harsh criticism from the opposition, which accused him of staging a coup and dismantling constitutional order.