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POLITICS > Special-authority courts ‘going too far,’ Turkish PM says

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Despite criticism that the fight againmst alleged coup plots will lose power, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defends a government plan to curb the authority of special courts and receives opposition support

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PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C) and his wife Emine Erdoğan join an opening ceremony yesterday in Çanakkale. On the right is Çnakkale Gov Güngör Azim Tuna. AA photo

PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C) and his wife Emine Erdoğan join an opening ceremony yesterday in Çanakkale. On the right is Çnakkale Gov Güngör Azim Tuna. AA photo

Turkey’s premier has strongly criticized special-authority courts and accused them of “going too far” by attempting to prosecute the national intelligence chief.

“He was instructed by me. If you will take someone [to prosecute], then take me,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in his televised remarks late June 6. That act by special-authority courts created obstacles for running the state, he said.

Erdoğan said the government wanted to use all instruments in Turkey’s struggle against terror. However, the judiciary acted quite to the contrary and has caused members of the intelligence organization worries and doubts.

Erdoğan said the prosecutors were acting as if they were “a different power within the state… they were the state.” Prosecutors think they can summon anyone including the president, he said.
The government has stepped up the struggle against coup networks and gangs, Erdoğan said, adding that they would not step back.

His government will study the issue of Article 250 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the prime minister said.

Article 250 amassed great authority and the judicial structure used that authority according to its will, Erdoğan said, adding that the government would study the legislation and then take a step, but that this did not mean the struggle against coups would never end.

Noting that a number of people, including soldiers, journalists and politicians were being jailed pending trial, Erdoğan said their aim was to ease those practices in favor of trials without imprisonment. “All those cases destroy confidence in the judiciary,” he said.

The main opposition party found Erdoğan’s statement on amending Article 250 positive but late. “We have long been saying that those courts have entered the political authority’s service,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu tsaid yesterday. The concept of special-authority courts has no place in democracies and should be entirely repealed, he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said the changes would only be procedural and would not affect ongoing cases.

The work has yet to be detailed, but changes would be made regarding the methodology, Bozdağ said yesterday.

“The reasons for arrest are not changed or eradicated. As long as crime and punishment remain, the courts can give their verdicts with any methodology.”

June/08/2012

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