Can Atalay's parliamentary membership revoked in Turkey
Can Atalay, a Turkish Workers' Party member representing Hatay, has lost his seat in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM). This follows the Court of Cassation's 3rd Criminal Chamber's ruling, which was officially announced in the TBMM.
Under Deputy Speaker Bekir Bozdağ's chairmanship, the TBMM General Assembly convened. The assembly confirmed the revocation of Atalay's membership. He had previously been sentenced to 18 years in prison for his involvement in the Gezi Park trials and remained incarcerated despite two Constitutional Court rulings of rights violations.
Opposition members, protesting the decision, marched to the podium with placards following the announcement.
The decision's timing had been speculated earlier today. AKP Deputy Group Chair Leyla Şahin Usta had indicated that Atalay's membership might be revoked this week, despite the Constitutional Court's opposing rulings.
The General Assembly accepted the CHP's proposal for a closed session, reportedly to delay the decision's announcement and ensure thorough record-keeping of the proceedings.
During this session, Deputy Speaker Bozdağ requested non-authorized individuals to leave the General Assembly hall.
TİP Party Leader Erkan Baş, addressing the assembly, accused the process of violating the Constitution. DEM Party members vocally protested, accusing the assembly of undermining the Constitution.
The CHP highlighted the gravity of the situation in their closed-session request. They stressed that the issue extended beyond one parliamentarian's rights, pointing to a blatant constitutional breach and a rift among higher judicial authorities, undermining Turkey's constitutional order and threatening its democratic regime.
Following a closed session discussion, the motion was rejected, and the assembly resumed in open session.
Discussions ensued in the assembly, with both opposition and support for the decision to revoke Atalay's membership.
AKP Group Chairman Abdullah Güler defended the process, stating that the assembly was merely acknowledging a definitive verdict as per the Constitution, not conducting a trial.
CHP Deputy Group Chair Gökhan Günaydın criticized the decision, focusing on the legal dispute among higher courts and questioning the protection of the TBMM's honor.
In his remarks, TİP Party Leader Baş condemned the proceedings as irregular and accused Deputy Speaker Bozdağ of complicity in undermining justice.
The Constitutional Court had twice ruled that Atalay's detention violated his rights. The Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court, despite these rulings, forwarded the case to the Court of Cassation. The Court of Cassation subsequently declared that the Constitutional Court's second ruling had no legal standing, leading to the current decision not to adhere to it.