Gov’t submits draft to overhaul entire supreme justice
AA photoA draft law aiming to change the structures of two top supreme judiciary institutions to purge alleged members of the Gülen movement from critical judicial positions has been submitted to parliament.
The 38-article draft law was introduced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) with plans to have it passed before parliament goes to recess at the end of June.
According to the draft, the number of judges at the Supreme Court of Appeals will be reduced from 516 to 200, while the number of judges at the Council of State will drop from 195 to 90. All members of both courts will be dismissed by the day the law will go into force except for its presidents, who will retain their positions despite the change in the law.
İsmail Rüştü Cirit, president of the Supreme Court of Appeals, and Zerrin Güngör of the Council of State recently attracted severe criticism from opposition parties for accompanying President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on a domestic trip.
The move is regarded as yet another measure to eradicate members of the Gülenist organization within the state bureaucracy, which was recently declared a terrorist organization by the country’s top security board, the National Security Council (MGK). The government’s fight against what it calls the “parallel structure” controlled by the Gülenist movement began in December 2013 after the launch of a massive corruption and fraud investigation with links to four former ministers.
The new members of both courts will be selected by the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) in five days after the law goes into effect. Some members of the Council of State will directly be appointed by Erdoğan.
The tenure of judges of both courts will be limited to 12 years although existing laws allowed judges to remain in their positions until the retirement age of 65. The number of chambers at the Council of State will also be reduced from 17 to 10.
The movement of Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic scholar based in the United States, is accused of trying to overthrow the government – its erstwhile ally – by using its influence in the judiciary and police.