Justice to come first in reforms

Justice to come first in reforms

Apparently, the meeting between Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu about the new constitution went positively, in principle. 

The prime minister brought up the presidential system, which is a matter of dispute, but seemingly he was not persistent. It is a pleasing development that the two parties agreed on the elimination of the Sept. 12, 1980, coup laws which are against fundamental rights and freedoms, the wrongness in arresting journalists and the EU harmonization laws. 

This is the first step; we have a long way in front of us with ups and downs. I want to draw attention to the justice problem as a priority.    

Here in our country, justice was troublesome in every era; it could never become impartial and independent, it only changed hands. “In harmony with the executive body” is a phrase which sums up today’s problems with justice. When you look at it, the government makes a political accusation, and following this, the justice writes an indictment accordingly.

One example was during the Gezi Park incidents, when the government said a “coup attempt” was made, and then the football fan club Çarşı was taken to court facing “aggravated life imprisonment” on charges of an “attempted coup.” 

I had written, at that time, “I cannot say for sure what the court would decide because of judicial problems in the country but courts of last resort such as the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights would find this ‘extreme’ and will rule this is not a coup attempt. If that does not happen so, I will write in this column that I have not actually studied law. (Sept. 10, 2014.)

Well, now, all of them have been acquitted. 

When journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül were arrested, I wrote: “The charges of ‘aiding a terror organization and spying’ about Dündar and Gül are not valid in legal terms. They will sooner or later be acquitted from these charges.” (Nov. 28) 

We will see; it will happen sooner or later.

Again, Prof. Sedat Laçiner, who was detained on “terror” and “coup” charges, was released by the court. While there is the option of “summoning for a statement,” keeping a person in “detention” in an ice-cold cell for four days is against the law. 

I am sure Prof. Laçiner, who I know personally and whose books I have read, will be acquitted of these charges.  

The “organization, coup and spying” concepts in Turkey have been turned into waxwork; they can be shaped into whatever shape politically wanted. Whoever has wiretapped illegally, whoever has blackmailed, whoever had made an unjust ruling intentionally, they absolutely have to be investigated and tried… But if you use these concepts to seize newspapers and television stations, if you arrest businesspersons and journalists who have committed no acts of terrorism, then there will be no confidence left in justice in that country. 

The legal definitions of these concepts are definite. By expanding them and forcing justice to apply these expanded ones is out of the question in a state of law.  

We have a big issue at this point. The sword of the “in harmony with the executive body” of the Supreme Court of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) is above the country’s judges and prosecutors. This HSYK was formed after elections organized by the government. 

The Justice Ministry’s political interventions into investigations are known. They have even made a law decriminalizing these interventions. (Omnibus bill number 6545)  

Not only in terms of the prominence of law… But at these extremely critical times when Turkey is fighting real terror organizations, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), to conduct an effective fight against terror, for everybody to trust the justice of the state and for justice to be impartial and independent, it is a national cause. The only way for this is for the HSYK to have a pluralistic structure; for it to be independent and impartial. 

In the new constitution also, one of the most important issues is to make the HSYK have a pluralistic, independent structure not influenced or affected by the executive body or other power centers. Look, France, in a constitutional amendment in 2008, even excluded the president from the HSYK.