Presidential system not sultanate, says top judge

Presidential system not sultanate, says top judge

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Presidential system not sultanate, says top judge

Council of State head Hüseyin Karakullukçu (C) welcomes President Abdullah Gül (L) and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of a ceremony to mark the 144th anniversary of the supreme court. Karakullukçu has thrown support behind the presidential system. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

A possible presidential system for Turkey would be a democratic institution, not a sultanate, Council of State head Hüseyin Karakullukçu has said, clearly supporting the government’s proposal to change the country’s administrative system.

“It is our opinion that a presidential system would be a democratic administration model. It is not a sultanate. It would have certain advantages such as political stability, a positive effect on the economy, and successfully separate powers. I want this to be debated,” said Karakullukçu at his institutions’ 144th anniversary ceremony yesterday.

The issue came onto the agenda following senior ruling party members’ statements that the presidential system could be discussed during the constitution-making process. Opposition parties subsequently criticized the government for sabotaging the process. Karakullukçu has become the first high judiciary member publicly backing the proposal.

“There are other countries who apply a presidential system successfully. We must be open to new things. You don’t have anything to lose. If you don’t like it, you can change it back. But first, you need to try it out and see what happens,” he said.

The possibility of introducing a presidential system should be debated and evaluated while Parliament drafts the new Constitution, with a decision made based on the difficulty of Turkey’s geography and the expectations of its citizens, added Karakullukçu.

“It is not possible to claim that a balance between the executive and judiciary branches has been established. Judicial decisions that can be perceived as executive decisions should not be made,” he said, emphasizing that an effective separation of powers would not take on each others roles.
“At times, the judicial supervision that is carried out for justice has bothered the other powers. While the existence of judicial supervision is unavoidable for the continuous operation of a state of law, this supervision should be at a tolerable level for the other powers,” said Karakullukçu.

At the same time, the executive and legislative powers should also help the judicial power and apply its decisions, he said, adding that “the tendency to avoid implementing the decisions of the judiciary is a deficiency that must be remedied for the state of law.”

The new Constitution must clearly define that the state of Turkey is a democratic and secular republic, and should give emphasis on protecting basic rights and freedoms, concluded Karakullukçu.

The 144th anniversary ceremony at which Karakullukçu was speaking was also attended by President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Constitutional Court head Haşim Kılıç, Supreme Court of Appeals head Ali Alkan, Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin, as well as Deputy Prime Ministers Bülent Arınç and Bekir Bozdağ.