0515 GMT September 23, 2019
Haşim Kılıç, who served as president of the Constitutional Court of Turkey since 2007, announced his resignation in a speech on Tuesday, where he voiced his concerns about the increasing role that Turkish politicians may play in the judicial system.
Kılıç is known for his long disputes with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, especially during the time when Erdogan was Turkey’s prime minister. At the time, Kılıç revised a controversial decision which banned some major social media outlets, including Twitter.
The 64-year-old judge has denied rumors he is vying to become a member of the Turkish parliament as general elections, which are slated for June, draw closer.
Boundaries on judiciary’s independence
In his farewell speech, Kılıç said the selection of the judiciary officials have become problematic as it is mainly based on the political orientations of the judges. He said such a process would limit the independence of Turkey’s judicial system in future.
He also hit back at criticism about his time in office, saying, “Those who benefited the most from our decisions accused us of being coup plotters.”
Pro-government media in Turkey refrained from alluding to Kılıç’s farewell as resignation, arguing that he has reached an age limit.
Turkish Daily Sabah reported that Zuhtu Arslan, also a judge in the Court, will replace Kılıç. The new head became a member of the Constitutional Court of Turkey in 2012 based on a presidential order.
Turkey tops list of Twitter content removal countries
Meanwhile, Twitter announced Monday that Turkey has topped a list of the countries asking the social media service to remove some of its content. About a third of those requests in the second half of 2014 came directly from the Turkish government.
The Turkish government is trying to gain the parliamentary approval for a new bill that seeks to broaden state control over the Internet.
Under the bill, which was presented to the parliament in mid-January, the prime minister of Turkey and other cabinet ministers would be able to shut down websites for reasons including “national security” without a court order.
Turkey blocked access to Twitter on March 20, 2014, after it was used to spread corruption allegations against Erdogan, and his inner circle. YouTube was also blocked on March 27, after the release of an audio recording revealing a discussion among top Turkish security officials about a possible false-flag operation to justify a military offensive against Syria.