ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu says the AKP has made no essential changes to the judiciary.
The abolishment of the specially authorized courts, thanks to the majority of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at Parliament, has aroused the ire of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), with its leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, suggesting that the related motion would not lead to any essential change in practice.
The core of the opposition’s criticism derives from the fact that the authorities of these abolished courts will continue to exist under regional heavy criminal courts.
Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters yesterday that in the past the name of the specially authorized courts was “martial law courts,” before being changed to “state security courts” and “specially authorized courts” respectively as a result of the international community’s reaction. State security courts were abolished in 2004 as part of the EU reform process.
“The identity of these courts has not changed. These courts do not exist in democracies and they should definitely be abolished,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Following lengthy debates and hectic polemics between the AKP and opposition parties’ lawmakers, Parliament passed a judicial reform late Sunday to abolish the specially authorized courts used for coup trials and the hearings of cases against members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK). The reform is part of a judicial amendment package put forth by the AKP government, which established the courts in 2005.
Underlining that the law does not tolerate any double-standard, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “Society will get seriously wounded if you try to inject double-standards into the legal language. The reason for today’s serious wounds with regard to democracy and freedoms are these special arrangements.”
Earlier yesterday, the deputy chair of the CHP
parliamentary group, Emine Ülker Tarhan, signaled that her party could take the reform package to the Constitutional Court, as she suggested that it was in violation with the principle of equality.
Speaking at a press conference at Parliament along with a group of colleagues from the CHP, Tarhan said the changes brought about with the judicial reform package on specially authorized courts were solely cosmetic.
“They should give up dealing with make-up and hiding the essentials, because doing so is a kind of forgery,” she said.
Specially authorized courts deal largely with coup cases, filed against several hundred people, most of them active and retired military officers accused of plotting to overthrow the AKP government. Critics say the trials have spiraled out of control, with many defendants spending years in custody with no verdict in sight.