Judicial package to alter in Parliament?

Judicial package to alter in Parliament?

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Judicial package to alter in Parliament

Some defends the charges without arrest of some military officers, such as ex-Chief of Staff İlker Başbuğ. AFP photo

After much work on the fourth judicial package, the government submitted its draft to Parliament last week. However, the package caused conflicting reactions from a number of different groups, as it did not meet all expectations. The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) found the draft insufficient, while the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also reacted against it. A regulation for acquittals in the Ergenekon and Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) cases was not included in the draft, while it does consider propaganda favoring the coercion and violence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to be a crime. However, it does not presume a charge for non-violent propaganda.

With the İmralı process and the PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan’s recent call on the PKK to release captives, an optimistic atmosphere had begun to prevail. When the PKK announced that it would release the public officials they had taken hostage, the atmosphere completely changed. The BDP expected the release of the arrested defendants in the KCK case in return. However, the fourth judicial package did not meet this expectation, and it is clear that the BDP was waiting for greater steps.

Although the party is not content with the package, it has chosen to remain silent for now for the sake of the recently initiated process. However, it is continuing to stand behind its demands.

In addition, the BDP has also reacted against the draft because it did not include a regulation for arrested deputies, as five deputies of the party are currently under arrest. Will the package enter into force in the version in which it came to Parliament? Or will it undergo a change in the commission or general board phase?

Leading names of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced that the package did not include any regulation on arrested journalists and deputies. However, they made no comment as to whether the package would undergo any changes at Parliament or not. Meanwhile, there are rather different expectations and actions in the corridors.

Two different views prevail in the AKP. The first group defends the charges without arrest of arrested deputies and some military officers - such as the former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ - by making a number of additions to the package at the Commission phase. They argue that this situation harms the images of both Turkey and the AKP, and do not find it right to tackle such problems at a time when considerable steps are being taken in democracy and freedom.

The second group, on the other hand, favors the passing of the package without changes. This ongoing debate will find a result when the fourth judicial package arrives in Parliament. The Justice Commission is expected to negotiate the package this week, while the final approach to the package will become more evident in the commission and general board phases. The main opposition CHP is tending toward supporting a possible motion. It should also be kept in mind that Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek is worried about the conditions of the arrested deputies. There are a number of AKP members who think like Çiçek, and do not favor long detention periods.

When the general atmosphere in the corridors is observed, it is possible to say that the possibility for a new regulation regarding the arrested deputies and soldiers in the fourth package is gradually decreasing. Of course, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will make the final decision, but it is also true that the optimistic atmosphere of recent weeks has vanished with the introduction of the fourth package. Could the new process introduce sudden changes in decisions and some surprises? We will see in the coming days.


Justice and Development Party (AKP) Constitution Conciliation Commission member Ahmet İyimaya has said the new Constitution may not even need to define citizenship. I asked İyimaya what he thought of the citizenship definition in the 1924 Constitution, which had previously been highlighted as a good example by President Abdullah Gül. A section in Article No. 88 of 1924 Constitution reads as follows: ““Everyone in Turkey is called a Turk, without discrimination on the basis of religion or race.” While saying that many proposals could be made in this regard, İyimaya implied that he thought differently. “That was needed in a period when an empire was transforming into a nation state ... I think a definition of citizenship is not required in the new Constitution,” he said.


With the recent İmralı process, the level of tension in politics has risen significantly. Tension has very high at Parliament over the last two weeks.

While little sparks could easily turn into a fire, insignificant discussions are turning into violent quarrels. Tension between the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is at its highest level. Formulas are being searched for in order to prevent a possible quarrel, as this could be reflected on the public rather negatively. Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, who is aware of this danger, has warned the group chairs of all the parties about this danger. The group chairs are now expected to try to prevent possible provocations by taking strict measures this week.