13:56 GMT05 August 2020
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    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has openly challenged the Constitutional Court's ruling that the detention of two opposition journalists had violated their rights as Turkey's top court along with the military are the only two institutions in the country that could "contain" his ambitions, Al-Monitor asserted.

    "Most probably, [Erdogan] does not appreciate any action that could challenge his quest for unlimited personal power," the Washington-based media outlet noted, referring to the court's decision. "Erdogan does not want any checks and balances. He feels such a mechanism could jeopardize his political survival. For Erdogan, democracy is becoming more and more a straitjacket."

    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
    © AP Photo / Basin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service Pool
    Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, and the daily's Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul were arrested in November after releasing a report that implicated Turkish intelligence officials in providing weapons to radical groups in Syria.

    Both journalists were charged with revealing state secrets for "espionage purposes" and aiding a terrorist organization. They face aggravated life sentences, an additional life sentence, as well as 30 years in prison. Their trial is scheduled to begin on March 25.

    Turkish journalists gathered to protest against the jailing of opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper's editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Ankara representative Erdem Gul, in Istanbul, December 2015.
    © AP Photo / Omer Kuscu
    Turkish journalists gathered to protest against the jailing of opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper's editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Ankara representative Erdem Gul, in Istanbul, December 2015.

    In late February, Dundar and Gul were released from jail following a Constitutional Court ruling. Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, hailed the decision as "an important day for media freedom in Turkey" and urged Ankara to drop charges.

    For his part, President Erdogan said that he did not "accept or respect" the court's decision. "There was no doubt that the Constitutional Court ruling would upset Erdogan, but few predicted that he would openly challenge it with bristling remarks. Yet he did," Al-Monitor observed.

    For the media outlet, Erdogan's statement is part of a larger trend, which has seen Turkey transform into a "quasi-democracy." Matthew Whiting and Zeynep N. Kaya recently described the state of democracy in Turkey as "pessimistic," adding that it "has not fared well under the current AKP government."

    In recent years, Erdogan has tried to tighten his grip on power, which also entails rewriting the constitution. Many have said that the Turkish president will try to change the country's system from a parliamentary to a presidential one. 

    Latest developments reinforce this trend: "Turkey's 'strongman' President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is going the extra mile in his trajectory of authoritarianism by challenging a Constitutional Court ruling."

    Related:

    Turkish Nobel Laureate: EU Turning Blind Eye to Lack of Democracy in Turkey
    ‘Erdogan Demands Submission': Why Turkey Is Difficult Partner for Germany
    Ankara's Orwellian Reality: Erdogan Converting Turkey Into Police State
    Imprisoned Turkish Journalists Do Not Regret 'Defending the Truth'
    Tags:
    constitutional court, freedom of the press, democracy, press freedom, Cumhuriyet newspaper, Erdem Gul, Can Dundar, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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