No room for special courts, Çiçek says on eve of debate
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The special courts cannot continue the way they are, says Çiçek. DAILY NEWS photoParliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek has said the specially authorized courts “cannot continue the way they are” on the eve of a government move to curb the courts’ broad rights.
“No one says it should continue this way, the public is uneasy about the practices of these courts,” Çiçek said June 29 in a televised interview. “There is not a 100 percent consensus in the public, but there is a clear annoyance. Work is in progress to correct the situation,” he said one day before a parliamentary debate on the issue.
The long-debated specially authorized courts are expected to be abolished by a motion included in the third judicial package that will be debated in Parliament’s General Assembly on June 30, but ongoing trials are not expected to be affected by the change.
Ergenekon, Balyoz and KCK cases will continue
The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) deputy parliamentary group chair Mustafa Elitaş played down concerns that the abolition of the specially authorized courts would lead to the dismissal of the ongoing coup probes, saying: “The current [specially authorized] courts will continue to function until their ongoing trials are concluded. Specially authorized courts should not exist in an ordinary country, they are exceptional. Turkey is proceeding with its normalization process in quick steps, and the specially authorized courts are about to complete their function,” Elitaş told reporters on June 29.
Asked whether his party would submit a motion during the talks on the third judicial package, Elitaş said that they would “debate the third judicial package tomorrow [June 30],” avoiding further comment.
The AKP’s effort to abolish the specially authorized courts has come into its final phase, as Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, Parliament’s Justice Commission chair Ahmet İyimaya and the AKP’s deputy parliamentary group chair, Mahir Ünal, have been working on the issue in accordance with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s instructions.
According to information the Hürriyet Daily News gathered from AKP sources, a motion has been prepared that will be submitted during the discussion of the third judicial package, including amendments to articles 250, 251 and 252 of the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK), which give special authority to judges and prosecutors when they are investigating “organized crime.” Crucially, the ongoing trials in the specially authorized courts, such as the Ergenekon and Balyoz coup probes and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case, will continue to be heard until the final verdict is announced, through a provisional article included in the motion. These specially authorized courts will not be able to launch further investigations or probes, however.
Such probes will be heard at prospective specialized courts that will be established in 29 major provinces or metropolitan municipalities. Some of the existing High Criminal Courts will be specially designated to handle probes related to organized crime, terrorism and coup plots, but they will not have “special authority.”
For instance, the 1st and 2nd High Criminal Courts of Diyarbakır will be designated specifically for terrorism probes. The AKP is also considering an amendment to include chiefs of General Staff, force commanders and prime ministry undersecretary into the offices for which the prime minister’s authorization will be sought before launching an investigation, as it happened in MİT under secretary Hakan Fidan’s case.
Parliament not to recess on July 1
Parliament has decided not to recess on July 1 in a move to complete the legislation of some important bills.
Under normal conditions Parliament ends the legislative year on July 1 and reopens on Oct. 1. But due to Parliament’s heavy schedule, its recess has been delayed for an undetermined length of time. Parliament was scheduled to extend the mandate of the Turkish military’s participation in the U.N. mission in south Lebanon (UNIFIL).