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Turkish chief justice calls for criminal investigation of PM court criticism

[JURIST] Chief Justice Tulay Tugcu [official profile, in Turkish] of Turkey's Constitutional Court [official website] asked prosecutors Wednesday to investigate whether criminal charges should be brought against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] for televised comments made Tuesday that Tugcu believes may violate laws against insulting state institutions. During a televised interview on Tuesday, Erdogan called the court's May 1 decision to cancel a presidential vote [JURIST report] for lack of quorum a "disgrace to the justice system." Tugcu said she believed the remarks demonstrated an increasing lack of respect for Turkey's high court. Despite her concerns, Erdogan is unlikely to be prosecuted because parliament, where Erdogan's supporters hold a majority of seats, would first have to vote to revoke his immunity before charges could be brought.

This is not the first time that Erdogan has been questioned for apparent hostility to the Turkish court in connection with its presidential election ruling. He has been under investigation by Turkey's Office of the General Prosecutor [JURIST report] following a lawyer's complaint about another comment made shortly after the court's May 1 decision, where he characterized the ruling as a "bullet aimed at democracy" [JURIST report] and urged the passage of constitutional amendments that would allow for the direct election of the president. Parliament passed those constitutional amendments [JURIST report], but Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer [official profile] ultimately vetoed them [JURIST report] last week. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

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