The first seven members of the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), which will be restructured next week as part of the constitutional amendments approved on April 16, were appointed by an alliance between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in parliament in a late night session on May 16 and 17.
In the first round of the voting, with the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and People’s Democratic Party (HDP) protesting against it, none of the candidates were able to receive 367 votes. Only in the second round, where 330 of the 550 votes were sufficient to mark the names, the members were elected.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s personal lawyer Hamit Kocabey and AKP Beyoğlu District Council Member Songül Yazar were elected from a quota of law professionals. Alp Arslan, who is currently a member of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), the HSK’s former name, Yaşar Şimşek and Mehmet Ademoğlu were elected from a list of members from the Supreme Court. Cafer Ergen was elected from the Council of State, while Ali Cengiz Köseoğlu, Yıldırım Beyazit University’s Law Faculty Associate Dean, was picked from a list of law scholars.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli attended the voting process. Some 348 lawmakers among 351 from the AKP-MHP alliance were also present.
Most of the lawmakers voted in line with a key list determined by the party administrations over a five-member quota for the AKP and two for the MHP. The seven elected members received 318 to 348 votes in the first round while the other members were given “courtesy votes.” None of the candidates received zero votes.
In the second tour, Şimşek received 333 votes, Ademoğlu 331, Arslan 340, Ergen 341, Köseoğlu 33, Yazar 334 and Hocabey 337 votes.
Following the voting, Yıldırım went to the MHP seats and thanked Bahçeli.
“There is no problem. It is in accordance with the referendum spirit,” Yıldırım said.
CHP, HDP protest voting
and the HDP reiterated their opposition against the constitutional amendment, which they say is “illegitimate.” A HDP parliamentary group left the general assembly in show of protest, while the CHP
observed the voting until the end of the session.
“An independent judiciary is unwanted. A new dependent structure in the judiciary with political affiliations and associations to religious organizations is being built. We, as the CHP, will not be a part of this illegitimate, illegal construction,” CHP
spokesperson Bülent Tezcan said.
“To insist on this wrongness; this new sect-religious organization and political alignment would come back as new bombs on the parliament’s roof the way it did on July 15 [2016 coup attempt],” Tezcan added.
HDP Deputy Group Chairperson Filiz Kerestecioğlu said the candidates were influenced by political ties.
“The candidates to be elected here are dubious. This voting will serve nothing but further politicizing within an already politicized judiciary,” she said.
With the president expected to appoint the remaining four members and the Justice Minister and his undersecretary as permanent members will complete the 13-member board.