UPDATES WITH REMARKS FROM ARSLAN ON INDIVIDUAL APPLICATIONS FILED WITH THE COURT
By Aylin Sirikli and Kadir Karakus
ANKARA (AA) - The president of Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday praised the high voter turnout for the April 16 constitutional referendum.
Speaking at an event marking the 55th anniversary of the court’s establishment in Ankara, Zuhtu Arslan said the high number of people going to the polls was a sign of "great democratic maturity".
“A voter turnout of more than 85 percent is an achievement in itself in terms of democracy," Arslan added. The turnout was 85.46 percent in the vote on proposals to change the constitution and usher in an executive presidency.
Unofficial results show the Yes campaign won 51.41 percent of votes, while the No votes stood at 48.59 percent.
The official results are due to be released next week.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Parliamentary Speaker Ismail Kahraman, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and other officials were at the event.
- Surge in individual applications since coup attempt
Arslan also gave details on individual applications filed with the court, a process which was green-lighted after the September 2010 referendum, and officially started in September 2012.
He noted a big surge in the number of applications submitted in the aftermath of last July's coup attempt which martyred 249 and injured nearly 2,200 others.
While the number of applications filed in 2016 was 12,712 until July 15, 2016, a total of 68,044 applications were lodged in the remaining five and a half months, he said.
"As of today, there are 101,557 applications pending before the court. This is much higher than the total number of petitions filed with the European Court of Human Rights from 47 countries," he said, adding about 75% of the applications were concerning the state of emergency, which has been extended three times for an additional three months each since it was initially announced on July 20.
Arslan also pointed out a steady increase in the rate of concluded applications within the last three years.
"The rate was 50 percent in 2013, 53 in 2014, and 77 in 2015," he said, adding 85 percent of applications were concluded between Jan. 1 and July 15, 2016.
"Our goal was to increase the number up to 100 by the end of 2016. However, we had a coup attempt. Still, the number of individual applications concluded last year was higher than 2015," he said.