Departing top Turkish judge slams politicians’ ‘interest’ in judiciary
AA PhotoThe outgoing president of Turkey’s Constitutional Court has criticized politicians’ extraordinary “interest” in the court’s agenda, opting to leave office a month before he was scheduled to retire.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday after members of the 17-seated Constitutional Court elected Zühtü Arslan as their new president, Haşim Kılıç recalled that he was supposed to retire on March 13, but submitted his resignation earlier because he thought it would be inappropriate for the court to have two presidents at the same time.
Referring to speculation over his previous decision to delay the election, Kılıç said this was unnecessary as the court’s members had requested such a postponement in order to lobby ahead of the election.
“I don’t at all consider what is said outside and I don’t take it seriously. Why are some politicians so interested in the agenda of the Constitutional Court? They would know the answer to this question much better than me. So I will not stress these matters too much, but I just want to state that the only reason for the postponement was my friends’ request,” he added.
“I don’t have any political plans. Don’t asses my decision [to retire] by making a connection with a political project,” Kılıç said, in apparent reference to the fact that 5 p.m. on Feb. 10 was the deadline for civil servants to resign in order to be nominated as candidates for the June 7 parliamentary elections.
Later in the day, while speaking to reporters at parliament, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ was asked whether he believe that he would work more comfortably with Arslan than he worked with Kılıç.
“We have worked well with Mr. Haşim Kılıç, too. Perhaps, in the last one year, some things happened but when you look at it, we have worked well with Haşim Kılıç, too. The ruling that he delivered up to today are obvious. There were many rulings that we criticized. Our criticisms are obvious, too,” Bozdağ said, while underlining rulings by Kılıç that were “appreciated.”
“The number of rulings which we didn’t like is less [than the number of those we didn’t like],” he said.
Arslan received 11 votes to become president, ahead of his competitor, Deputy President Serruh Kaleli, who was given six votes.
Arslan was appointed to the top court back in April 2012 by former President Abdullah Gül, who selected him from among three candidates nominated by the Higher Education Board (YÖK).
Supreme Court of Appeals
Meanwhile, as outgoing President Ali Alkan also retired this week due to age limits, members of the Supreme Court of Appeals similarly went to the ballot box yesterday, electing İsmail Rüştü Cirit, the president of the 13th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, as their new president in the first round of voting.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called both Arslan and Cirit and congratulated them on their new posts, a written statement by the Prime Ministry Press Office said.
Davutoğlu congratulated both of them for being elected through democratic processes that took place in line with the maturity that befits Turkey, the statement said.
Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek also called the two new top judges, his press office said.