President Erdoğan vows major judicial reforms

President Erdoğan vows major judicial reforms

President Erdoğan vows major judicial reforms

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has unveiled a long-awaited judicial reform package, saying that it shows Turkey’s commitment to full EU membership despite “promises that haven’t been kept.”

“One can see this judicial reform strategy document as the beginning of subsequent reform documents,” he said, speaking at the meeting for the Judicial Reform Strategy document on May 30.   

One of the major achievements of Turkey in its EU accession process is having the ability to implement reforms systematically, the president said. “We implement the reforms not because the EU wants, but because our nation needs it.”

Although the EU “does not keep its promises” in Turkey’s EU membership bid, Turkey expresses its commitment to this end, the president said. 

The government has studied EU criteria along with demands made by Turkish citizens in shaping the reform strategy, Erdoğan said about the document which mentions 63 targets and 356 actions.

“We have prepared the justice reform strategy document in the framework of enhancing the independence and impartiality of justice and easing jurisdiction,” he stated. 

“We want to protect the right for a fair trial more effectively in the coming period. It is also our priority to create simplified processes in the judiciary and to introduce preventive and protective legal practices to the system,” he said.

The added that the government “takes steps for the use of detention measures prudently.” “We see the prosecution without detention as the main method, we will make arrangements to provide the conditions of detention in mandatory cases,” he stated. 

 The reform will pave the way for the execution of punishment for children, elderly and sick people, who did not commit violence, serve their sentence at home under electronic surveillance, Erdoğan said.

“We have developed a new understanding to preserve freedom of expression via the internet,” he said.

The president noted that they would make changes in punishing some internet contents and they would effectively ban only “problematic” sections of websites instead of imposing a full access ban. Erdoğan also said Turkey remained committed to its “zero tolerance” policy on torture.

The reform also aims to ease the operation of the justice system, he said, noting, “Easing access of our citizens to the justice is among our priorities.”

The government will provide “geographical assurance” for the assignments of judges and prosecutors so that they will not be inducted to different provinces out of their will.

It is planned to make qualified cases of crimes such as simple assault and threats connected to a complaint. The first acts of crime by children under the age of 15 will be closed without prosecution.

Under the strategy, a new Human Rights Action Plan will be prepared. For the first time, an institution of deputy judges and deputy prosecutors will be established. Special courts will be established in areas such as environment, construction, and energy. An ‘’Entrance to Legal Profession Exam ‘’ will be required to be a lawyer. The education period in the law faculties is increased to five years and the quotas are reduced.