Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nation Alliance Presidential candidate, has responded to the question of whether his promise of freedom to Selahattin Demirtaş contradicts the independence of the judiciary. Kılıçdaroğlu argues that the decision to release a prisoner ultimately belongs to either the court or the parliament.
Highlighting the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Kılıçdaroğlu emphasized that the notion of law cannot be lost. If there is justice, law, and right in a country, then a court decision must be implemented. He added that if the Constitutional Court makes a decision, the judge at the bottom cannot simply refuse to recognize it, nor can they solely follow instructions from the Palace.
Kılıçdaroğlu then turned to the issue of releasing Demirtaş and explained that for his release, either the Grand National Assembly of Turkey will enact an amnesty law, or the court will give a verdict of acquittal. He emphasized that the decision regarding Demirtaş’s release does not belong to him.
The politician criticized the current state of the justice system in Turkey, arguing that if court decisions are not enforced, then there is no point in having courts.
The issue of Demirtaş’s release has been heavily debated in Turkey recently. The former HDP leader has been in custody for almost 4 years on terrorism charges, and his detention has been criticized by the international community. The ECHR has ruled that Demirtaş should be released, but Turkish courts have not yet implemented the decision.