Turkey already aware judicial problems in EU progress report: Minister

Turkey already aware judicial problems in EU progress report: Minister

Deniz Zeyrek ANKARA – Radikal
Turkey already aware judicial problems in EU progress report: Minister

Minister Sadullah Ergin. Daily News Photo / Selahattin Sönmez

Turkey’s justice minister said they are aware of the problems that European Union put its fingers on in its recently released progress report, while expressing his disappointment for not seeing enough self-criticism in the union’s part.

While expressing his gratification for the compliments for justice system, which constitute a larger space than the criticisms in the report, the minister Sadullah Ergin told daily Radikal that the EU’s reservations on the Turkish justice system have already been addressed by the government.

Addressing the, “poor quality of indictments,” criticism in particular, Ergin said this is aroused by the low education quality of employees and is one of the issues tackled by the Justice Ministry.

“We are working on a study to examine the judiciary personnel’s educational background and we will share its results with the public soon,” he said.

The poor quality of indictments was one of the top issues repeated throughout the report, as it is one the most prominent, “impediments for effective defense.”

“Concerns about legislation and practice in the criminal justice system remained, in particular with regards to the capacity of prosecutors to lead investigations, limited access by the defense to prosecution files, poor implementation of cross-examination at trial and the poor quality or lack of reasoning in indictments,” read the European Union’s annual Turkey progress report released Oct. 16.
However, in the Radikal interview, Ergin mostly drew attention to the pros in the report than cons, which took up a lot more space, compared to previous years.

“I say ‘not enough, but yes’ [to the report] because of recognition of what we have done and the allocation of more than a 20 page analysis [for the justice system],” said Ergin.

In the previous years’ reports, Turkey’s progress towards a more just judiciary system was only briefly touched upon, taking up five or six pages, but this year’s report constitutes 21 pages and most of it was praise.

Apathy criticism to EU

Meanwhile, Ergin said the EU should be able to criticize itself as well in the report for not taking the expected steps required of it.

In its new enlargement strategy, the EU set toward opening Chapter 23 on Judiciary and Fundamental Rights and Chapter 24 on Justice, Freedom and Security as pre-requisites to start the negotiation process.

However, the talks between Turkey and the bloc on these chapters have not kicked-off yet, which has been seen as an indication of the European leaders’ reluctance for Turkey’s membership.