The 6th Congress of the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa (CCJA) on “African Constitutional Courts and International Law” was held in Rabat on 22-24 November 2022.
In representation of Türkiye, Mr. Zühtü Arslan, President of the Constitutional Court, Mr. Yusuf Şevki Hakyemez, Justice of the Constitutional Court, and Mr. Abdullah Tekbaş, Rapporteur-Judge of the Constitutional Court, participated in the Congress.
At the 3rd session of the Congress, President Arslan delivered a speech where he referred to the constitutional provisions concerning the status of the international treaties, as well as to the method applied by the Turkish Constitutional Court in interpreting and implementing the international human rights conventions.
Indicating that Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution pointed to the status of international treaties in domestic legal system, President Arslan expressed that this provision provided some answers to the questions as to the position of the international treaties in the hierarchy of legal norms. He further noted that Article 90 of the Constitution explicitly set forth the ban on the constitutional review of the international treaties, and therefore, the Constitutional Court was not entrusted with the power to review the constitutionality of international treaties. He pointed to the vital role undertaken by the Turkish Constitutional Court in preventing possible conflicts with the international law.
President Arslan, stating that the Constitutional Court abstained from a review that could amount to an indirect review of the treaty provisions, noted that when the adjudication of cases involving constitutional rights was at stake, the Constitutional Court took into account the international obligations and referred systematically to the international and European human-rights instruments. Accordingly, he added “As a matter of the fact, the introduction of individual application system (constitutional complaint) in 2010 has radically changed the relationship between the European human-rights law and national law of Türkiye.”
He also cited relevant judgments rendered by the Turkish Constitutional Court, stating that the Court considered not only the European Convention and the case-law of the Strasbourg Court, but also other international treaties ratified by Türkiye.
President Arslan stressed that the Turkish Constitutional Court played a crucial role in mitigating the possible conflicts and interpreting the constitutional provisions in line with the provisions of the international treaties. In concluding his speech, he stated:
“It is our responsibility towards next generations, our children and grandchildren to leave a world in which they live freely, happily and peacefully. We should keep in mind the important message of following proverb: ‘We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.’”
Click for the speech delivered by President Zühtü Arslan.