Crisis of separation of powers
Let’s say the lawyers and legal experts within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) are bound by party discipline, well but, what about the law professors who applaud the bill that puts the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) under the supervision of the Justice Minister?
Even a person, Hakkı Köylü, within the AKP came out and said, “This motion has aspects that are contrary to the Constitution.” Central Anatolian town Kastamonu deputy Köylü has been a prosecutor, chief prosecutor and worked as a lawyer. He is talking with his knowledge and conscience at the Parliament’s Justice Commission.
There are several arrangements in conflict with the Constitution in this bill. The gravest one is that the inspection staff of the HSYK will totally be vacated and will be filled with names picked up by the Justice Minister.
It is extremely sad that there are some lawyers and legal experts ignoring this and applauding the bill all together.
There are legal experts who support the bill on television talk shows and newspaper columns; there are also law professors among them.
They say, “There cannot be a reign of the community in the justice system.” This is very true… They say, “The community tried to stage a judiciary coup,” let’s say so.
As a precaution, let’s raise the minimum age for positions; that’s also ok.
However, putting the Justice Minister in a “supervisor” position over the HSYK, moreover, authorizing the minister to even be able to change the members of the HSYK; how can legal experts stomach that?
The HSYK, which is the focal point of judicial independence, is being made a general directorate under the executive organ. People who have studied law, should not they at least say “These parts of the bill are against the Constitution, they should be corrected.”
The acting chair of the HSYK Ahmet Hamsici was made a target by a pro-government newspaper as the “Imam of the community at the HSYK.” This is a typical example of “totalitarian propaganda.”
I have met Hamsici twice in my life. Both of them were in international and academic symposiums organized by the HSYK. Hamsici was keen on the independence of the judiciary.
Because he is highly respected in the justice community, he was made the acting chair of the HSYK to contribute to the reputation of the board in 2010. Now, he has been declared the “imam.” If he becomes a Zionist soon, do not be surprised.
For Hamsici to issue a communique in his own name can only be a professional discipline issue. However, on the topic of the contradictions of the Constitution that he has included in his communique as a cry of the lawperson, unfortunately, nothing is heard from the legal experts who support the bill.
Justice controlled by the executive branch
Obstructing the police from carrying out the order of the prosecutor in the capacity of “judicial police” is a criminal act according to Article 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK). This article is only on paper and nobody raises concern about the issue.
First, the HSYK had decided to investigate eight prosecutors, including Zekeriya Öz, and one police director in Istanbul, however, the Justice Minister did not allow any investigation for three people who are close to the government. For the other six, there will be an investigation. The same people do not ask “what kind of impartiality is this?” And, now, we are experiencing a serious crisis of power.
The former Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım said regarding the İzmir investigation in which his brother-in-law is involved, “Of course the justice system will do whatever needs to be done.” This is how a statesman with political maturity would talk. The İzmir investigation is proceeding on its “normal” course.
The government is now saying, “We wanted it to be democratic, but we have made a mistake” regarding the 2010 referendum. Now this government is trying to control the judiciary branch. It is truly sad some of the law experts who supported that referendum are now applauding this move.
Taha Akyol is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on Jan 13. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.