Deputy PM Bozdağ joins chorus against special courts

Deputy PM Bozdağ joins chorus against special courts

Deputy PM Bozdağ joins chorus against special courts

The work on specially-authorized courts includes all options, says Bozdağ. AA Photo

Special-authority courts are incompatible with the principle of the rule of law and thus require in-depth revisions, according to Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ.

“These [special-authority] courts have no place under the rule of law,” Bozdağ said in an interview with private broadcaster Channel 7 yesterday. “There is ongoing work about these courts. This work includes all options.”

The courts were created following the abolition of the State Security Courts and were needed to address terror-related cases, Bozdağ said, but added that this did not mean that the courts should continue indefinitely.

“There are long-running discussions over these specially authorized courts and some of their verdicts,” Bozdağ said, adding that they also fueled an already-polarized ideological debate between political parties, the media and other circles.

“There are so many disputes about these courts. So we have to ask questions about the problem. Both government and Parliament should look at that,” he said.

Bozdağ said he believed Parliament would pass a law on a judicial reform package this week.

The Justice Ministry is working on a fourth package of judicial reforms that include changes to Article 250 of the Code of Criminal Procedures, which regulates the status of the special-authority courts.

The special-authority courts have long been under fire over controversial practices that have come under the spotlight, especially in the handling of the high-profile investigations into the Ergenekon and “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) coup plots. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has harshly slammed these courts, saying they have been politicized and are acting upon the orders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The opposition Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has also been harshly critical of the courts, especially since the ongoing Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) investigation was launched.

Some AKP members joined the critics when special-authority prosecutors summoned National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan and other MİT officials for questioning in February as part of the investigation into the KCK. In response, the AKP rushed a bill through Parliament that provided a judicial shield for the MİT personnel.

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