‘Release of far-right militants a remedy’
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily NewsDismissing widespread public criticism over the release of two far-right militants, convicted of several murders, made possible by a recently adopted judicial reform package, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has suggested that the Supreme Court of Appeals and other courts have had ideologically-motivated practices in the past, and that the recent releases amount to a kind of remedy for these unfair practices.
When reminded of the criticism the releases have fueled, Bozdağ, speaking on the A Haber news channel early July 12, said a legal arrangement made in 1991, under late Prime Minister Turgut Özal, had paved the way for the release of convicts who had already served 10 years of their total prison sentence.
“Since 1991, when this law was passed, some people haven’t been able to benefit from it while others have. The most important problem of the independence of justice in Turkey lies in the fact that the Supreme Court of Appeals and other courts have not been able to free themselves from their own personal ideologies. What we have done is eliminate the injustice that results from this,” Bozdağ said, apparently suggesting that in the past judges had used their authority only to benefit leftist convicts. “During that period , courts discharged convicts who had served 10 years of their prison sentence. However, also during that period, this legal arrangement was only applied to leftist convicts who had committed crimes including murder, but not to those criminals who had adopted right-wing views and who had also been convicted for a range of crimes,” Bozdağ said. “On the one hand, all crimes committed by leftist criminals were considered as one, and having served 10 years of their total sentence was sufficient for their release. On the other hand, each crime committed by rightist criminals was considered independently, and the discharge of right-wing criminals was made possible only after a 10-year sentence was served for each one of these crimes.”