Does Turkey need judiciary reform?
It is nonsense to be a committed supporter or die-hard opponent of any governance model, but it is an experimented result that even if some people might not wish to acknowledge it, the Turkish-style executive presidential governance model is not functioning well.
Should Turkey return to parliamentary governance? Sorry to say it, but that system was horrible, as well. In the absence of an adequate political parties’ legislature, democratic elections law and a democratic mindset among the political elite, was not the country some sort of a party leaders’ farm?
The so-called “Turkish model” proved to be problematic particularly because of the deletion of the “impartiality” clause of the president in the Constitution and the very strong political personality occupying the seat of the president at the moment. Would it be the same if there was a more democracy-committed personality in the presidential seat? That’s a hypothetical question, but with such powers, even the most democratic personality might be affected.
Presidential governance might be a precious chance for Turkey to move ahead and develop while providing incredible cohesion and stability, rather than an arbitrariness enshrined from top-down; adding a proper checks-and-balances system and replacing the perennial failing judicial system with a working one. As a top judge recently admitted, the nation has no confidence in many organs of the state. The worst is the situation of the lower and upper courts.
Turkey is currently discussing how to reform its judicial system. Do we need judicial reform? Obviously. But if the deficiency in the independence of Turkish justice system is not singled out as the fundamental problem and after yet another reform, the Turkish justice system is to remain subservient to the ideology in power, I am sorry to say that the problem will remain. The previous day Kemalist ideology was dominant; all opponents were banished. Yesterday, it was FETÖ.
If political views and politicians that the power centers of the country disliked can have no place other than prisons in this country, or if elected mayors were replaced so easily by administration-appointed trustees; the name or model of governance of a country matter very little. If there is justice and if there is confidence that justice will prevail, there will always be hope that remedies to problems will be found somehow and someday.
Thus, the systematic problem of Turkey is, of course, political and constitutional but more so, perceptional. If the perception of democracy is “my democracy” or if the perception of justice, is “my justice,” then, how democracy or justice performs in a country largely depends on who are in power. The problem is not systematic, either; it is an existential problem eroding all values and norms. Obviously, such a situation cannot be sustainable.