Expecting change in the judiciary: Is it good or bad?
There are claims that the judiciary will undergo some improvements. New decisions will be made for the release of some who are currently behind bars.
In an article he wrote on Oct. 31, daily Hürriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi said he saw Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül with a file in his hands at the Presidential Palace in Ankara and told him there were significant changes happening in the judiciary.
“The climate is changing for the arrested journalists and intellectuals; steps are being taken in the direction of normalization. For now, I can only say this much,” he had said.
After Gül was appointed as Justice Minister, Hürriyet columnist Deniz Zeyrek also penned a column on Oct. 27, in which he said there were important and positive developments unfolding regarding the arrests, human rights and press freedom, while also touching on relations with Germany.
Gül took the helm of a mistreated judiciary. It is obvious that he is trying to make some improvements. It is a promising sign that he appointed the well-respected judge Selahaddin Menteş as the deputy secretary of the Justice Ministry.
Although unfortunately there has been a decision to not release the jailed daily Cumhuriyet journalists, there are hopes for normalization.
These are the good news.
We hope the Justice Ministry becomes a state institution that does not politicize the judiciary but keeps justice above politics.
But the bad news is that it is clear the judiciary is under political pressure. There are arrests and accusations being made under the influence of the political climate.
However, if the political atmosphere gets softer, there might be some releases…
But is this a tactic to improve the situation for the coming elections?
Can we say “justice” and “law” are the most important sources of improving the tarnished reputation and foreign politics? Are we entering a reform process?
In democracies, all powers are limited by the law. Law is higher than politics. Their values are clear: The separation of powers, basic rights and freedom and an independent and objective judiciary.
The government has wanted more power since 2011. The practices within the ruling party are also done accordingly. Recently, this has been strengthened with the presidential system, a model that is unique to us.
The latest example of this desire for more power is the orders that have been forcing elected mayors to resign.
Those who have come to power with elections should not have gone upon orders.
When he resigned, former Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek said “orders overrule everything else.”
I had written eight months ago in an article on Feb. 21 that such phrases were used in authoritative systems, and that they would lead to collective behavior as those in tribal systems rather than independent, individualistic behaviors.
In my article, I had given examples of independent personalities such as former Prime Minister Fethi Okyar against Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, and former Interior Minister Fevzi Lütfi against former Prime Minister Adnan Menders.
Balıkesir Mayor Ahmet Edip Uğur displayed an independent personality when he announced he was forced to resign.
In order to become a developed country, we need science, technology and art producing free minds. We need independent personalities and innovative ideas.
Law and politics must not oppress them; on the contrary, they must pave the way for them.