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POLITICS > Turkish justice minister defends new judicial package, citing ECHR criteria

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The Justice minister calls on parties to obey the European Court of Human Rights criteria instead of criticizing the new judicial package sent to Parliament

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Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin (C) opens Ulu Mosque in the southeastern province of Hatay as Gov Mehmet Celalettin Lekesiz (R) accompanies him. ‘We have created a practice in line with the European Court of Human Rights criteria. The complainants should obey ECHR standards,’ Minister Ergin says. AA photo

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin (C) opens Ulu Mosque in the southeastern province of Hatay as Gov Mehmet Celalettin Lekesiz (R) accompanies him. ‘We have created a practice in line with the European Court of Human Rights criteria. The complainants should obey ECHR standards,’ Minister Ergin says. AA photo

Underlining that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) resolutions were the basis of the fourth judicial package, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin has refuted criticism of the package March 8 and called on people to obey the ECHR instead of complaining about the content of the package.

“Instead of complaining, they should adjust their actions to the standards of the European Court of Human Rights. We have taken steps in a way that would have the universal standards match with our regulations’ structure. We have created a practice in line with the ECHR criteria. The complainants should obey ECHR standards,” Ergin said in an interview with NTV news channel about the package, which was sent to Parliament on March 7.

Minor improvement: CHP

At Parliament during the same hours, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Akif Hamzaçebi said the package has made a very minor improvement in regards to violations of human rights.

Although narrowing the scope of propaganda crime, the package does not contain any arrangement that would compensate for human rights violations in the Ergenekon and Balyoz coup conspiracy trials as well as in trials concerning the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Hamzaçebi said.

“This study has been prepared to solve systematic problems, but not specific problems. Article 314 [of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK)] is an article about founding an armed terror organization. Everybody can make subjective assessments but these assessments would be binding only for themselves. What we heeded was the ECHR process, the ECHR case laws and the ECHR conventions,” Ergin said.

Although amending Articles 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and Article 220/8 of the TCK – which are all related to creating propaganda for terrorism and terror organizations – in a way that limits the scope of propaganda crime, the package hasn’t brought any changes to Article 314 and thus made no improvements to the situation of KCK convicts in particular.

Despite being named the “Bill on Amending Some Laws within the Context of Human Rights and Freedom of Expression,” the package is not sufficient in providing freedom of expression, Hamzaçebi said.

“The ‘freedom of expression’ that is in the name of the package should also be put in the package itself,” he said.

March/09/2013

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Baris

3/11/2013 6:55:56 PM

Mara, my argument was on the unlikeliness of the sharia law coming to Turkey. At no point did I claim that Erdogan and co. were the best democrats in the world, they are not, or that Turkish democracy didn't have any rights infringements, it does. My point, though, stands. Turkish public are committed to democracy and will never allow sharia. Also, realisation of that fact shaped Erdogan and co. to abandon thoughts of sharia and become a part of the system, which they've done nothing to change.

mara mcglothin

3/11/2013 5:03:01 PM

Isn't the title "Turkish Justice Minister" an oxymoron????? For a country that is always discussing their "rule of law" not to have any is very amusing. BARIS Do you really need a list of rights infringment alive and well in Turkey today? It is a slippery slope. Why can't people understand from history that the slow erosion of rights is heading in a certain direction?

Baris

3/9/2013 2:22:46 PM

"once Turkey is like Iran, there won't be any complaints to ECHR anymore, the sharia will bring the ultimate justice". Come down to Earth, Faruk Beisser. Does the Turkish public seem to you like they will tolerate Sharia? There are no sharia parties in Turkey. Turkish public is committed to democracy, and because of that, Erdogan and co, who used to say democracy is a means to an end in 1997, now run the biggest center-right party in Turkey. What have they done to bring in sharia?

Faruk Beisser

3/9/2013 9:46:30 AM

In line with ECHR??? I don't see anything in line! But then, once Turkey is like Iran, there won't be any complaints to ECHR anymore, the sharia will bring the ultimate justice!

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

3/9/2013 3:04:11 AM

What the Turkish State doesn't want to relinquish is the right to influence public opinion through speech. Any attempt to enhance freedoms must have a clause not to infringe the state's control in this matter. Because of this, we should not expect any wide scale rights laws, at least for near future.
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