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Turkey slams top court for 'wrong decision' on journalists

AFP  |  Istanbul 

Turkey's today slammed as "wrong" a ruling by the Constitutional that two veteran writers arrested in the wake of the failed coup should walk free as their rights had been violated.

and had been accused, in separate cases, of links to US-based Muslim Fethullah Gulen who says masterminded the failed 2016 coup attempt. Gulen denies the charges.

Rights campaigners hoped the Constitutional ruling could set a major legal precedent and help could help dozens of other journalists arrested in the crackdown.

But two criminal courts late yesterday defied the ruling and ordered that both writers should for now remain behind bars.

accused the Constitutional of exceeding its powers by acting as a top of appeal. has its own of Cassation, known as the Yargitay.

"With this decision the Constitutional has crossed over its legislative and constitutional limits," Bozdag wrote on "This should not act as an appeals "

He described the decision as "bad and wrong", saying it was reminiscent of the same court's ruling in February 2016 to order the release from jail of the former of the daily Can Dundar.

had at the time fumed over that decision, saying he had "no respect for it".

The Constitutional Court, Turkey's top court, is one of the very few public institutions in not controlled by Erdogan who enjoys the support of armed forces, parliament and government.

Most of its 17 members were appointed during the rule of Erdogan's predecessor or the previous Sezer.

"Now we know why they weren't released last night," commented Emma Sinclair Webb, the director of Human Rights Watch, on after Bozdag's remarks.

The courts said that the men could not be released as Constitutional had not formally communicated its rationale.

But the top hit back with a rare message on Twitter, saying its full ruling could be read by anyone on the internet.

OSCE on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir said he was "deeply concerned" by the courts' decision. "Journalists must be freed immediately."

Alpay, 73, is a who wrote a column for the now closed staunchly pro-Gulen Zaman newspaper.

Mehmet Altan, 64, has written books on Turkish His brother Ahmet, a for some of Turkey's leading dailies, is also being held in the same case.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 18:45 IST