New composition at top judicial body legal, legitimate, appropriate: Turkish gov't
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ (R) chairs the HSYK's first meeting with its new members, Oct. 28. AA PhotoThere is no flaw in the new composition of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), many of whose new members have been either elected or appointed by the president, the Turkish government has said.
“Appointments by the president are made within the Constitution and the laws. Nobody can claim that these appointments are in violation of the Constitution and the laws,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ told reporters on Oct. 27.
As a natural member of the HSYK in his capacity as the justice minister, Bozdağ was speaking to reporters before a meeting of the council which would be the first of the newly elected members.
Bozdağ’s remarks came when he was reminded of criticism leveled by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who argued late Oct. 27 that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not actually appoint judges to the HSYK.
“As far as I understood, Erdoğan appointed people from his family instead,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, in a bid to draw attention to the allegedly close relationship between Erdoğan and the members he appointed to the board.
However, Bozdağ described the appointments as "legal, legitimate and appropriate." "Kılıçdaroğlu will himself notice that his criticism is not fair when he looks at the high democratic legitimacy and pluralism here,” he said.
The elections for the 22-member key judicial body turned into a battlefield between the government, its opponents, and the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
The president names four members to the HSYK and is authorized by law to appoint academics or lawyers with at least 15 years of experience and no obstacles to becoming a judge.
Almost 14,000 judges and prosecutors from around the country cast votes on Oct. 12 to elect 10 full members and six substitute members to the HSYK. Candidates reportedly close to the government who gathered under the Unity in Justice Platform (YBP) won all seven seats that were allocated for members of the civil judiciary, while they also won one seat allocated for members of the administrative judiciary.