Playing with justice like a jigsaw puzzle

Playing with justice like a jigsaw puzzle

Because various laws that are interfering with justice have come one after the other in a nonstop fashion, I call them jigsaw puzzles.

The president of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Ali Alkan, has carefully refrained from making public statements, avoiding any arguments. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said of him, “Esteemed Alkan is one of those people who represent the Supreme Court of Appeals thoroughly, deservedly.” 

Yes, deservedly, thoroughly. Have we seen Ali Alkan involved in one argument or any sentence that could be interpreted as political? When he saw that the warnings he made during his speech to the opening of the new court year on Sept. 1 hit the wall, he had to raise his voice to defend the independence of the judiciary; he made his “note for history” statement.

To sum up a few of Alkan’s criticisms, he said it was against the Constitution for legislation to interfere with justice through the issuance of regulations regarding the workings of the high court’s internal administration.

With the intermediate Court of Appeals to be set up soon, the number of files in the Supreme Court of Appeals will be reduced by a rate of 90 percent. Despite this, now, with a new bill, 130 judges have been added to the high court to make the total 516. This cannot be explained by public interest.

“With the law dated June 28, 2014, the distribution in the Presidential Council of the high court and the distribution of members in departments have already been changed. What happened in six months that now it is being changed once again?”

Let me answer this. In these six months, the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) elections were held. The government was already expecting the list prepared by the Justice Ministry to win the HSYK elections to interfere once more in the high court. That list duly won, and now they are implementing this political program that was decided earlier for the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Not judicial but political

What I have been writing above are not interpretations; they are material facts. The following was what civil servants at the ministry told members of the high court when they were called to the Justice Ministry for the member elections in July: “If you do not elect our list, then we will make a new law in fall and appoint 100 new members to the Supreme Court of Appeals, so think accordingly!”

I wrote this on July 16 to put it on the record. This is not a package that merely brings a new order to the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State. This is the umpteenth package where “our lists” make a series of “our laws.”

This is blatantly political. It is not done with the thought any public interest that is defined in the law or in the legal mentality; they are judicial laws that are issued with political thoughts. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ himself said, “You can criticize this as playing with a jigsaw puzzle.”

In his answer to the president of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Bozdağ did not explain why they did not consult the judiciary; he does not mention a reason that can be acceptable judicially. “Legislative activity is not interference with justice,” he said.

If the principle of the separation of powers was respected, then it could have been correct. However, there are many legal documents showing how justice is subject to interference through legislation, that is, via the parliamentary majority. The latest one of those is the annulment by the Constitutional Court of the law that made the HSYK dependent on the ministry. Anybody who reads this annulment decision will be able to see, with its evidence, that the aim of creating a justice in harmony with the executive is what is being sought.

The “package” in Parliament is also one of the phases to implement the same aim.

Professor Tahir Taner, when he refused to sign the May 27, 1960, coup communiques that were against the fundamental principles of law, said, “I have a fear of history.” Yes, one should fear the judgment of history; one should avoid these “jigsaw puzzles” over justice.