AKP says proposal on judiciary not a ‘coup’

AKP says proposal on judiciary not a ‘coup’

AKP says proposal on judiciary not a ‘coup’

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy head Hüseyin Çelik defends the government’s judiciary reform in the wake of criticism from the opposition. AA photo

A proposal introduced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission outlining a major overhaul of the high judiciary is a “reform,” not an “coup,” a senior party executive said on Feb. 7.

The proposal suggests the annulment of the Council of State and the Supreme Court of Appeals, and the establishment of a “Court of Appeals or Court of Cassation” to function in place of these two courts. However, AKP Deputy Chair Hüseyin Çelik argued that this arrangement should not be interpreted as an abolition of the two top courts.

“This is a reform. This is what it should be. A coup in the working of the judiciary is out of the question. The judiciary is independent, the judiciary is impartial; it is so and it should remain so,” he said.

According to the proposal, the president will elect seven members of the 22-seat Judges and Prosecutors Board; eight members of the 17-seat Constitutional Court; and a quarter of the members of the “Court of Appeals or Court of Cassation,” the yet-to-be-established body.

As part of the same proposal, both the Military Supreme Court of Appeals and the Military High Administrative Court will also be annulled. As an exception, in cases of military discipline crimes, it will be possible to form “discipline courts” within military units.