CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu slams judicial board over rights violations

CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu slams judicial board over rights violations

CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu slams judicial board over rights violations

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed members of the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) for heeding to political pressure.

“If you do not do justice, at least do not betray justice. Either do your job properly or resign immediately,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Jan. 16.

What prompted Kılıçdaroğlu’s strong reaction against the HSK was a recent ruling by an Istanbul court regarding journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay. The Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court on Jan. 15 rejected the two journalists’ demand to be released from jail, resisting the Constitutional Court’s ruling that his imprisonment violated his constitutional rights.

“You [members of the HSK] are doing great harm by occupying those seats in the HSK,” Kılıçdaroğlu scolded. “What are you going to do about the judges who ignore the constitution and the Constitutional Court? Why do you not convene to make a decision about those judges? Are you waiting for an order from somewhere?” he asked, implying the HSK is under political pressure.

“Look at the Altan and Alpay case. A lower court says it can ignore the Constitutional Court’s ruling and that its powers come from political authority, not from rule of law. The court says it will follow orders from the [presidential] palace,” Kılçdaroğlu added.

The CHP leader also claimed that the country’s constitution is being violated.

He criticized the government for regulating almost every single issue through decrees. According to Kılıçdaroğlu, the decrees should only deal with issues related to the state of emergency. “Why do the decrees include matters such as temporary workers, or education and public health-related issues? This means parliament is being sidelined,” Kılıçdaroğlu suggested.

He also claimed CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu is being kept in prison on orders from top figures in Ankara.

The Istanbul court ordered on Jan. 16 to continue the arrest of Berberoğlu, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14, 2017 for allegedly “leaking state secrets.” Berberoğlu was accused of providing daily Cumhuriyet with a video purporting to show the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks sending weapons to Syria.

Earlier this week, Berberoğlu refused to wear handcuffs to his trial. His trial has been postponed to March 13.

Peace in Middle East

The main opposition leader criticized the government’s Middle East policies but also called on the U.S. to stop arming the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

“Every weapon you send to the Middle East will increase the pain. It will cause bloodshed and tears. For this reason, we should warn both the United States and Russia” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

He called on Turkey, the U.S., Russia and Iran to play their role to prevent the spread of terrorism in the Middle East.

“Calling on the government to have common sense is our duty. We want peace in the Middle East. Heroic words have no place in diplomacy. Diplomatic channels should be enforced until the end,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, recalling more than 70 Turkish soldiers had been killed in an operation in Syria’s al-Bab. 

“We have been battling for [Syrian leader Bashar] al-Assad in Syria and 70 of our soldiers were martyred. If you cannot foresee what lies ahead of you, you cannot manage foreign politics,” he said.