MHP leader’s lawyers, AKP member lawyers among candidates for Turkey’s judicial board

MHP leader’s lawyers, AKP member lawyers among candidates for Turkey’s judicial board

Bülent Sarıoğlu – ANKARA
MHP leader’s lawyers, AKP member lawyers among candidates for Turkey’s judicial board A lawyer for the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) leader and two lawyers who are members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been listed as candidates for the revamped Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK). 

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s lawyer Hamit Kocabey and AKP Beyoğlu Deputy Mayor Şerife Taşbaşı, as well as AKP women’s branch Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK) member Ülkü Soylu, were named among the 21 candidates selected from the 83 who applied to parliament. 

The name of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) was changed to the HSK, while the number of its members was reduced from 22 to 13 after the April 16 referendum vote approved the imposition of an executive presidency and a number of other sweeping changes.

The Supreme Election Board’s (YSK) decision to accept ballots without an official seal “unless it can be proved that they were brought from outside the voting room” sparked a major debate on the results of the referendum.

The constitutional amendments were supported by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the AKP and the leadership of the MHP, while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) campaigned for a “no” vote.

Seven members of the HSK will be chosen by parliament’s Constitution and Justice Commission out of the 21 candidates. 

Four MHP and 30 AKP lawmakers participated in the voting on May 10, while the CHP and the HDP boycotted the meeting. 

The CHP and the HDP previously announced that they would not provide any members to the lower commission on the grounds that a majority of the candidates are affiliated to the AKP and that participating in the process would mean “acknowledging the illegitimate referendum.”

Three women were placed in the list from the lawyer quota, Taşbaşı, Soylu and Songül Yazar. In addition, Kocabey and lawyer Ali Aydın Akpınar passed the threshold. 

Emin Sınmaz, who is a current member of the HSYK, was selected from the Council of State quota, while HSYK member Alp Arslan and Supreme Court General Secretary Yaşar Şimşek were selected as candidates from the Supreme Court quota. 

In the profession section of Şimşek’s resume, it was stated that he was assigned to prepare critical laws and legislate them in 2014 after the December 2013 graft probes.

The December 2013 corruption cases targeted figures close to the government and resulted in lasting enmity between the AKP government and the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who was subsequently accused of orchestrating the July 15, 2016, failed coup. 

Cafer Ergen and Cevdet Erkan were the other nominees for the Council of State quota, while Mustafa Çavuş, Yusuf Kuzu, Mehmet Ademoğlu, Mehmet Osmanoğlu, Mustafa Kurtaran, Mahmut Kaya and Ziya Dinler were nominated from the Supreme Court quota. 

For the academic member quota, Ali Cengiz Köseoğlu, İlhan Üzülmez and Abdülkerim Yıldırım were nominated. 

Three members of the HSK will be selected by the Supreme Court, one from the Council of State and three from among legal academics and lawyers.