EU’s Füle concerned over jailed deputies

EU’s Füle concerned over jailed deputies

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
EU’s Füle concerned over jailed deputies

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin says a fourth judicial package is on the way. DHA photo

The European Union’s Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle reportedly described the situation of jailed deputies in Turkey as “a serious problem,” during his meeting yesterday with the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

“We view the issue of jailed lawmakers as a serious problem,” sources quoted Füle as saying after the meeting.

Earlier in the day, Füle expressed optimism that a solution would be found to the problem.
“There are challenges Turkey face. The Turkish Parliament is in the center of those challenges. I’m sure Turkish politicians will find a way and a method to solve them,” Füle told reporters at a joint press conference with Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, when asked about the jailed lawmakers.

Asked whether a planned amendment that would drastically extend the scope of judicial control measures would solve the issue, Ergin said the draft was aimed at relieving the burden of the judiciary and the problem of lengthy trials. “The prospective amendments do not aim at solving individual problems but general problems of the judiciary, such as lengthy trials. Those who are being tried will also benefit from the amendments. We approach the problem as whole. We will debate the preparations for the fourth [judicial] package at the first cabinet meeting,” Ergin said.

The new constitution process, jailed journalists and a package of judicial reform currently being debated in Parliament were also high on the agenda of Füle’s talks with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned. According to sources, Füle saidthe CHP was important for Turkey-EU relations.

Kılıçdaroğlu, for his part, reportedly said they would exert every effort for a new democratic constitution, but voiced misgivings on the judicial package drafted by the government.

“Up to now, three packages for judicial reform were passed through Parliament, but we have not seen any positive results. There were 30 jailed journalists one year ago. However, after the third judicial package, the number of jailed journalists increased to more than 90. We don’t want this number to go higher. But we will not support the reform package unless it contributes to democratization,” sources quoted Kılıçdaroğlu as saying.