Government expects no major shift in judicial package

Government expects no major shift in judicial package

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Government expects no major shift in judicial package

The fourth judicial package does not contain articles that could release politicians and journalists in a major case. DHA photo

There will be no remarkable amendments to the content of the fourth judicial package during the legislative process, a senior ruling party official has said, while leaving the door open for minor amendments if need be. 

“Of course, it’s not a divine decree. That’s why it’s going to be introduced to the commission and will be sent to the General Assembly. There could be some changes at Parliament, but this document was carefully crafted and introduced to Parliament only after it matured. I do not think there will be important changes to it,” Hüseyin Çelik, deputy leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said in an interview with private Kanal 7 channel yesterday. 

The fourth judicial package has disappointed opposition parties as it failed to contain articles that could lead to the release of Kurdish politicians, journalists, and professors in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case. “All of them [opposition parties] have their own agenda. If you listen to [Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu [the leader of the Republican People’s Party], he will only refer to those who are in Silivri prison. For the Peace and Democracy Party [BDP], they are looking at the KCK. [Devlet] Bahçeli [the head of the Nationalist Movement Party], is putting the emphasis on a few men close to him,” Çelik said, adding that the draft had not been introduced to address the specific cases of parties. 

Although amending Articles 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and Article 220/8 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK), which are all related to creating propaganda for terrorism and terror organizations, in a way that limits the scope of propaganda crimes, the package has not brought any changes to Article 314 and has thus made no improvements to the situation of KCK convicts in particular.

The expectations on the release of some journalists were also raised after Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç hinted that scribes could also enjoy this law once approved at Parliament. “The deputy prime minister about told me that he did not put anything specific about it and just mentioned the amendments to Articles 6 and 7 of the TMK,” Çelik said. “Otherwise, there is no disagreement between us.”

Çelik responded to speculation as to whether the AKP had asked the owner of daily Milliyet to fire dissident columnists like Hasan Cemal and Can Dündar in the aftermath of the newspaper’s publication of the leaks of the İmralı meetings. “I have not made such a demand. I am not of the opinion that [the prime minister] voiced such a demand.”