Justice minister warns judicial board not to make individual statements

Justice minister warns judicial board not to make individual statements

Justice minister warns judicial board not to make individual statements

Bekir Bozdağ swapped his deputy prime minister portfolio for the justice minister seat during last week's cabinet reshuffle, taking over his current post from Sadullah Ergin. AA photo

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has warned the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) that he, in his capacity as the head of the board, is the sole authority to release statements on behalf of the board. 

The HSYK last week delivered a statement in which it described a new judicial police regulation obliging those carrying out investigations to inform superiors as “unconstitutional,” prompting Bozdağ saying the board did not have authority to make such a statement, and underlining it was made public without his knowledge.

Bozdağ’s warning to the HSYK was conveyed in a document titled “Renewal of Authority Transfer,” the state-run Anadolu agency reported on Dec. 30, citing anonymous sources.

“Since the authority of administering and representing the board belongs to the president, I request the information and demands from the press statements, which will be made on behalf of the board, to be made by the president,” Anadolu quoted the document as saying.

Bozdağ, a former deputy prime minister, took over his current post from Sadullah Ergin, now running as the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) mayoral candidate for the province of Hatay in the March 2014 local elections, as part of a recent Cabinet reshuffle. 

The replacement of 10 ministers came last week as Erdoğan was under pressure to dismiss three Cabinet ministers whose sons were detained as part of a grand corruption investigation.

The Anadolu agency in its report underlined a similar problem of sharing authority occured when Ergin was minister too. 

Back in August 2013, when a prosecutor’s office released a journalist who hit then-Deputy Prime Minister Bozdağ during an Alevi festival, Bozdağ said, “I don’t know what the result would be if it was the prosecutors who were smacked.”

Upon such criticism, the HSYK released a statement, in which it underlined, “In crimes for which the penalty is not longer than two-year [long imprisonment], arrest decisions cannot be made.” 

Anadolu agency recalled that upon this statement from the HSYK, then-Justice Minister Ergin wrote a letter to the HSYK and asked them, “not to make statements without his permission and approval.”