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700 Turkish intellectuals Call on the Court of Cassation to Uphold the Constitution and Release Can Atalay

In a unified appeal, 700 scholars, artists, and jurists have called upon the Court of Cassation to abide by the constitution and facilitate the immediate release of Can Atalay, who has been detained for over a year in connection with the Gezi Park trial, despite being elected as a deputy from Hatay. The collective statement emphasizes the need to remove the barriers preventing Atalay from fulfilling his legislative duties as an elected representative and demands the immediate restoration of his constitutionally protected right to vote and be elected.

Call for Constitutional Compliance: With Can Atalay, the People’s Party (TİP) Deputy from Hatay, remaining in custody despite receiving his parliamentary mandate and being registered as a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, 700 prominent figures, including Zülfü Livaneli, Müjde Ar, Korkut Boratav, Ali Çerkezoğlu, Esin Şenol, Erinç Yeldan, İsmail Beşikçi, Mert Fırat, Elif Çongur, Barış Atay, Hakan Güneş, and Özgür Urfa, have jointly appealed to the constitutional institutions to fulfill their obligations as prescribed in Article 83 of the Turkish Constitution.

The appeal highlights that a member of parliament accused of committing a crime before or after an election cannot be detained, interrogated, arrested, or prosecuted without the consent of the Assembly (Article 83 of the Turkish Constitution). While the trial is ongoing at the Court of Cassation, attorney Can Atalay was elected as a member of parliament from the TİP party in the elections held on May 14. Despite his parliamentary mandate being issued and his registration completed in the Turkish Parliament, Atalay continues to be held in detention. Such a situation is unequivocally contrary to the Constitution, and the Court of Cassation persists in refusing to enforce the constitutional provision.

Protection of Democratic Rights: The continued detention of elected Deputy Can Atalay represents a violation of his personal freedom and security, as well as an infringement upon the rights of the constituents he represents. The signatories of the appeal stress the urgency of removing the obstacles preventing Atalay from participating in legislative activities as a duly elected representative. They demand the immediate restoration of his rights to vote and be elected, rights that are protected both by the Turkish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. Moreover, they call upon the constitutional institutions to honor their obligation to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution.

Conclusion: The joint appeal by 700 scholars, artists, and jurists serves as a powerful call to the Court of Cassation to uphold the rule of law and respect the constitutional rights of Can Atalay. The signatories urge the immediate lifting of the barriers preventing Atalay from fulfilling his parliamentary duties and emphasize the importance of ensuring his constitutionally protected rights to vote and be elected. As Turkey’s legal and judicial institutions face this critical moment, it is essential that they demonstrate their commitment to the principles of democracy and the protection of human rights. The eyes of the nation and the international community are watching, eagerly awaiting a just and constitutional resolution to this situation.

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