Paylaş | 08 September 2023

The delegation of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Türkiye paid a visit to Kazakhstan to participate in the international conference organised on the occasion of the Constitution Day of the Republic of Kazakhstan. President of the Constitutional Court Mr. Zühtü Arslan, was accompanied by Justice Mr. Rıdvan Güleç, Chief Rapporteur-Judge Mrs. Şermin Birtane,  and Rapporteur-Judge Mr. Onur Mercan.

After meeting with counterparts and officials in Kazakhstan, the delegation of the Constitutional Court attended the opening ceremony of the academic year 2023-2024 of the Khoja Ahmed Yasawi International Turkish-Kazakh University on 4 September 2023.

Delivering the inaugural lecture for the academic year 2023-2024, Mr. President began his speech by commending the administration of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi University for declaring this academic year as the “Year of Human Rights”. Noting that human rights are a common heritage of the East and the West, as are tolerance, equality, justice and the rule of law, the President underlined that the greatest challenge in the field of human rights and their practice is the protection of the rights of “the other”. President Arslan pointed out that although “every human being” is the subject of human rights, regardless of religion, language, race or belief, the scope of the subject has been narrowed in many places. He added: “In particular, xenophobic, racist and Islamophobic attitudes towards refugees violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of people who are excluded from society and labelled as ‘the other’. This rapidly spreading virus is also poisoning day by day the climate necessary for the coexistence of differences. The antidote to this poison is the human-oriented approach which was planted in these lands hundreds of years ago by Pir-î Turkistan Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, and which later flourished in Anatolia and the Balkans.”

President Arslan highlighted that Khoja Ahmed Yasawi’s first poem also expressed a moral act of embracing difference with the lines “It is the Sunnah not to harm the infidels / God abhors the cold-hearted and unkind”. He explained that this understanding of tolerance, which recognises the ontological existence of “the other”, is the prerequisite for healthy social coexistence.

Recalling that the common truth pointed out by Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Rumi and Abay is the need to control power, confine it within moral limits and combine it with justice, Mr. President underlined that the law and the courts were needed to create such a foundation. Expressing that the main duty of all courts, notably the constitutional courts, is to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms inherent in human beings by preventing possible injustices committed by sultans, rulers, and governors, President Arslan highlighted that the comprehensive protection of human rights was contingent upon the full understanding of the profound philosophy of rights.

Indicating that the protection of human rights, both our own and those of others, is at significant duty falling upon the judiciary, and on the Constitutional Court in particular, the President added: “The raison d’être of constitutional courts is to safeguard the rights and freedoms stemming from the human dignity. Emphasising that the Turkish Constitutional Court has been exerting efforts to carry out its duty to protect human rights in the best and most effective manner, the President continued: “The rights-based approach adopted by the Constitutional Court in the protection of fundamental rights is not an embodiment of an externally imposed concept, but a reflection of the human-oriented understanding rooted in the teachings of scholars such as Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Rumi and Yunus Emre.

The President concluded his remarks by wishing everyone a successful and productive academic year and quoting Khoja Ahmed Yasawi: “May your every wish be granted, may your heart be filled with the joy of wisdom and love.”

Following President Arslan’s speech, the Constitutional Court and the Khoja Ahmed Yasawi International Turkish-Kazakh University signed a memorandum of understanding.

The Constitutional Court participated in various activities organised by Khoja Ahmed Yasawi University as part of the programme and concluded the first day of the programme by attending a dinner hosted by the Governor of Turkestan Province Mr. Darhan Satıpaldı.

Click for the full text of the speech delivered by President Zühtü Arslan.