Erdoğan-Kılıçdaroğlu row over justice independence deepens

Erdoğan-Kılıçdaroğlu row over justice independence deepens

Erdoğan-Kılıçdaroğlu row over justice independence deepens A spat between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over judicial independence has deepened amid mutual recriminations, risking the political unity and conciliatory spirit that emerged after the July 15 coup attempt. 

“This is shame. The description of [the opening ceremony for the judicial year] as shameful by a person, a chairman of a political party who attended the Aug. 7 [unity rally] is very ugly,” Erdoğan told reporters late Sept. 1 before departing for China to attend a G-20 meeting. 

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu harshly criticized the decision to hold this year’s ceremony at the presidential palace on the grounds that it would undermine judicial independence. He described the event as “shameful” while criticizing Erdoğan for issuing instructions to judges while slamming judges for standing up in front of him and applauding his speech. 

“The statements of this gentleman are of no consequence to me. It’s a pity. We wanted to take a step for unity in this country on Aug. 7. He was not planning to attend the Aug. 7 rally in Yenikapı but did so after his friends pushed him to do so. We thought afterwards that we would march together for unity and solidarity in Turkey,” Erdoğan said.

Reiterating that the presidential palace was not a political venue but the house of the state and that all state institutions may hold their meetings there, Erdoğan said the president was the head of the “legislative, executive and judiciary” as he is the head of the state. 

“What will we tell those who do not know that?” he said. “The feedback I received [after the ceremony] is very positive. Of course, this gentleman wants to see whatever he wants to see,” he said.

Metin Feyzioğlu, the head of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TTB), joined the CHP leader in avoiding the ceremony.