PM defends election watchdog after CHP’s harsh accusations
ANKARAMembers of the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) are “the most prestigious judges” and must be respected, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, slamming main opposition Republican People Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaoğlu for slamming the YSK for being under the influence of the government.
“I strongly condemn [his statements],” Yıldırım said on May 10, speaking before his departure to London for a meeting on Somalia.
“They are the most prestigious legal professionals and they are doing their job in the best way. If we continue to harm them, if we continue to harm judicial institutions, then the real problems will begin,” he added.
Criticizing Kılıçdaroğlu for “not respecting the popular will” by opposing the recent disputed referendum results, Yıldırım said the “legitimacy of the referendum cannot be questioned.”
“The only thing that could make an election dubious is an incorrect reflection of the votes in the ballot boxes. Nobody is saying that, they are just arguing about the stamps,” he said, adding that “the most important stamp is whether it is ‘No’ or ‘Yes.’ The other seals are not important.”
CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu had blasted judicial decisions made by state institutions including the election watchdog, arguing that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has an influence over the judiciary.
“They are taking into account only the decisions of one man,” he said on May 9, referring to the president.
Council of State president defends YSK
The president of Turkey’s Council of State, Zerrin Güngör, also rejected Kılıçdaroğlu’s criticism, specifically objecting to his use of the term “pro-government judges.”
“Unfortunately, subjective, undue and unbalanced criticisms and evaluations, which were made in order to create certain perceptions, harm the prestige of the judiciary,” Güngör said in an address on the 149th anniversary of the foundation of the Council of State on May 10.
“The best answers to be given to all accusations that the judiciary acts with bias and makes decisions under certain influence and pressure is the reasonable, consistent and efficient justification of the rulings with legal consistency,” she added.
The ceremony was attended by President Erdoğan, Prime Minister Yıldırım and Kılıçdaroğlu.
“We are open to precise criticism of our decisions. Judicial decisions should be evaluated not in line with the interest of certain parties but in line with objective, scientific and legal criteria,” Güngör said, adding that criticizing judicial bodies harms “political, social and economic stability and domestic peace.”