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TURKEY tr-politics

Turkish PM criticizes opposition and continues calls for judicial reform

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency | 3/6/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the opposition being scared of a referendum on constitutional amendments and not respecting the national will in Istanbul Saturday.

Premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the opposition of being scared of a referendum on constitutional amendments and not respecting the national will in Istanbul on Saturday.

Erdoğan said at the meeting of Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey, or TUSKON, in Istanbul on Saturday that his administration was determined to make constitutional amendments.

He said they wanted to prepare the constitutional amendment package together with all political parties while accusing the opposition of being prejudiced and uncompromising.

He said the opposition refused the amendments without even knowing their content adding that these parties did not have any intention of undertaking reforms.

Erdoğan said the opposition's call for early elections was a bluff, claiming that they would back off if the government was to accept it.

"I say; what ever the nation says, counts. Let's go and resort to the deep insight of the nation. What ever the outcome, be it positive or negative, I will bow down to it. This is what befits politicians, making politics in a democratic platform," said Erdoğan.

Recent arrest of Erzincan Chief Public Prosecutor İlhan Cihaner by Erzurum Prosecutor with Special Powers Osman Şanal in connection with the Ergenekon probe, which led the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, or HSYK to strip Şanal of his authority, deepened the row between the judiciary and the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government.

HSYK's intervention drew strong reaction from the government.

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin who lashed out at the HSYK said, "HSYK is an administrative board which does not have any judicial duties. HSYK made some decisions today by going beyond limits of its authorities. It is illegal and totally against both the Constitution and laws."

Many government officials severely criticized the HSYK of acting with political motivations, and saying that it was time for a judicial reform in Turkey.

The government says it wants to restructure the HSYK on the basis of objectivity, impartiality and transparency and in line with international documents.

Supreme Court President Hasan Gerçeker said the government was attempting to besiege the judiciary through constitutional amendments.

Gerçeker, who said Friday that they wanted the administrative supervision over the HSYK to end, also said they wanted the justice minister and his undersecretary to be left out of the HSYK, and the Inspection Council to be tied to the HSYK.

Erdoğan rejected the accusations of Gerçeker earlier in his Saturday speech, saying that it was the judiciary in Turkey which has besieged both the executive and legislative branches.

The opposition, which is suspicious of the government attempt to amend the constitution, accuses it of trying to take the judiciary under control.

Second opposition Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, says the government is attempting to politicize the judiciary. It believes that the government is aiming to subordinate the judiciary to the executive branch.

MHP Acting Group Chairman Oktay Vural said the AKP's judicial reform talk is nonsense claiming that it is trying to evade judicial supervision by taking the judiciary under control.

Main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, leader Deniz Baykal said the government is trying to take control over the Supreme Court, Council of State and the Constitutional Court, which is there to protect citizens' rights against the government.

He says the government is playing a trick.

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