The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) is at the center of the battle over control of the judiciary.DAILY NEWS photo
Prominent legal experts and academics studying the Turkish judicial system are not very hopeful about the current developments that placed the justice system into the heart of political debates with the government’s recent interventions against judicial independence.
The government’s move to amend the structure of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and thus increase its control over the judiciary branch has been the core of discussions at a meeting initiated by CHP’s leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
that brought these legal experts together with Ankara
bureau chiefs of the newspapers.
For Erdoğan Teziç, a renowned professor of constitutional law, if approved, the law on the HSYK could perfectly be taken to the Constitutional Court and it could annul it on the basis of its unconstitutionality and of the fact that it does not serve for public benefit. But the problem is once the law is approved by Parliament and the President, it will enter into force and the Constitutional Court’s annulment will not bring the old structure back.
Therefore Teziç suggested the high court could also take a decision to suspend the execution of the law even though it’s not within Turkish legal system. “The Court can take a verdict to secure the injunction against this law because judges should also take care and check the consequences of his or her verdict,” he stated.
One important note Teziç put was the duties given to the President by the Constitution. For the President, at a moment where the entire judicial system is about to be collapsed, inaction of the President would be considered as high treason, as he or she would not be fulfilling their constitutional duties.
Sabih Kanadoğlu, former head of the Supreme Court of Appeals, described the country as a police state since Dec. 17 as no laws are being respected by the government. “It’s no longer a country of rule of law. Laws are not implemented, court decisions are not implemented. Under these conditions, you can only call this a police state,” he said.
That’s why for Kanadoğlu, judicial methods will not function to resolve this major crisis. “The only way is elections. But secure elections. There is a huge danger there as well because they will be conducted by the interior and justice ministries. Complaints have already begun,” he urged. “You (the CHP) have to be successful in these consecutive elections. Either you will win them or Turkey will see darker days ahead.”
Orhangazi Ertekin, co-leader of the Democrat Judiciary Association, said he thanked the government for submitting the draft law on the HSYK because it was making obvious that judicial independence was already dead. “I appreciate the AKP just because of this. With this bill, the AKP says: Judicial independence is collapsed and as the government, I make the claims about the judiciary. I want this judiciary system.”
“I sincerely congratulate them; now we have moved to an outspoken dictatorship mode,” he said.