Top business group head warns that Turkey may slip into ‘police state’
Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) head Muharrem Yılmaz speaks during a conference on democracy on Jan. 14. DHA photoTurkey’s top business group has issued a staunch warning to the government on respecting the rule of law in its move to reform the judiciary, expressing concerns that the country may slip into a “police state.”
“A rule of law is a state based on human rights, which protects, improves, and, most important of all, respects them. A state that doesn’t abide by its own rules cannot be described as a state of law, not even as a state with laws. It can only be described by the book as a police state,” Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) head Muharrem Yılmaz said during a conference on democracy on Jan. 14.
Yılmaz said judicial monitoring of the state, as well as the independence of the judiciary, were a must in any democracy.
“The realities of the current situation are such that when we look at them we doubt that the principle of the separation of powers is interiorized as much as we would like. Moreover, our concerns are increasing every day,” he added.
The bill, which was submitted to Parliament last week, stirred much-debate over the government’s intentions to overhaul the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) justified the steps as a move against a “parallel state,” which it accused of orchestrating damaging graft probes against the government.
Call for constitutional reform
TÜSİAD head Yılmaz also slammed what he described as a “power struggle” over control of the judiciary. “We are facing a heavy agenda in which the judiciary has become the battlefield of a political struggle,” he said, stressing that discussions over the existence of a “parallel state” were harmful for the country.
“We have long been hearing of the notion of a deep state, and now we are discussing the existence of a parallel state. We are saddened at having fallen into a situation where people discuss parallel organizations and question the state’s basic institutions. We reject and refuse to embrace this,” Yılmaz said.
“The solution is a constitutional reform that will truly guarantee the independence and neutrality of justice,” he added.