The Turkish Judiciary: do you want easy control or difficult control?
İSMET BERKAN email@example.comWho should control the judiciary and how?
This is the topic we are discussing today. Those that led the Sept. 12 coup wanted to control the judiciary; they formed a five-person Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). Two of these five people were the justice minister and the undersecretary of the Justice Ministry anyway. When the government persuaded one other judge from the board, then they would be able to control the judiciary.
When the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was in no way able to arrange that third judge thanks to (or because of) former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, they made a constitutional change that altered the structure of the HSYK. With the changes, the board was to be made up mostly of 22 figures that the judiciary would elect itself. In other words, it would not be possible to control it.
Now, the AK Party regrets that. They want to return to the previous practice and for this, they have presented a bill to Parliament and are now talking about changes to the Constitution.
For the HSYK that it cannot control – even while claiming that “the community controls it,” it is planning constitutional changes. Opposition parties, on the other hand, are not closed to such an amendment in principle. Nevertheless, it is doubtful that the political parties will reach a consensus.
Well, what are we choosing? Is it a HSYK controlled with more ease or one controlled with more difficulty? Or maybe, a new HSYK that no one group could control?
Will our country overcome this disaster we are going through by strengthening our democracy and rule of law, or on the contrary, by harming democracy and the rule of law more, with a method that will make it more difficult to control authoritarianism?
By looking at the bill being discussed in Parliament, it is possible to see that the basic instinct of the government is not to strengthen democracy and the rule of law. Well, will the opposition facilitate a new arrangement in compliance with European Union principles that will fortify democracy and the rule of law?
We will see.
Remember the Prime Ministry Inspection Board?
Nowadays, there are millions of accusations flying around, all of them more serious than the other. For example, people are talking about “a parallel structure that is situated within the police and the judiciary attempted to stage a coup against the government.”
Is there really such a structure? Some agree; some disagree. Well, are we going to verify or ignore such a serious claim based on our opinions?
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mentioned this structure again the other day; he said, “They tried to stage an assassination.” While the PM is delivering these speeches, what if he also activates the Prime Ministry Inspection Board at his service so that this board uses its “extraordinary” powers to find out this “parallel structure” and the spy network involved in treason?
These serious claims should absolutely result in legal proceedings.
Apparently, the PM and the government do not trust the current judiciary and the police. In this case, the Prime Ministry Inspection Board seems to be the most suitable solution because the investigation reports of this board lead to legal proceedings.
If this parallel state topic will not be taken up in the courts and will only be talked about in opinions, then it will continue forever…
Chattering is free.
İsmet Berkan is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published Jan 15. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.