Turkey’s judicial board reshuffles over 1,000 judges, prosecutors

Turkey’s judicial board reshuffles over 1,000 judges, prosecutors

Turkey’s judicial board reshuffles over 1,000 judges, prosecutors Turkey’s judicial board reshuffled over 1,000 judges and prosecutors on May 9. 

A total of 1,045 judges and prosecutors were reshuffled, including 1,035 from the judicial justice and 10 from the administrative justice, according to a statement issued on the Board of Judges and Prosecutors’ (HSK) website. 

The name of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) was changed to HSK and the number of its members was dropped to 13 from 22 after the April 16 constitutional referendum declared the “yes” campaign as the winner with 51.4 percent of the votes, paving the way for the country to shift to an executive presidency. 

The Supreme Election Board’s (YSK) decision to accept unstamped ballot papers “unless it can be proved that they were brought from outside the voting room” sparked a major debate on the results of the referendum.

The constitutional amendments were supported by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the leadership of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) campaigned for a “no” vote. 

Meanwhile, the parliament’s Constitution and Justice Commission gathered on May 9 for the elections of HSK members. Some seven members of the HSK will be chosen by the parliament. The meeting on May 9 was held to choose 21 candidates for nominations to fulfill the seven spots. 

Some 83 people applied to the parliament to become members of the HSK. 

The meeting was held under the presidency of AKP Istanbul lawmaker Mustafa Şentop, and AKP Ankara lawmaker and the head of a lower commission, formed to examine the applications of candidates for nominations, Mustafa Alparslan, informed attendants on the commission’s efforts. 

The CHP and the HDP previously announced that they won’t give any members to the lower commission on the grounds that a majority of the candidates are affiliated to the AKP and that participating in the process would mean “acknowledging the illegitimate referendum.”

Speaking at the commission on May 9, HDP Adana lawmaker Meral Danış Beştaş said the referendum results were “illegitimate,” and the party won’t be a part of “the negotiations between the AKP and the MHP,” which was followed by HDP deputies leaving the hall in a show of protest. 

CHP’s Bülent Tezcan, meanwhile, said the judiciary “shouldn’t fall under the tutelage of a group or a movement.”

“The judiciary should be independent. An independent judiciary is the assurance of one’s independence, but we see that rather than an independent judiciary, the search for a subordinate one is happening,” Tezcan told the commission. 

Saying that the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen had in the past used the courts and judges as a means to reach their aims, Tezcan noted that “we are watching the same movie once again.”

“We looked at the references of candidates for nominations; there are AKP district heads or managers’ references in some of them. By doing this, you are leading the judiciary to new disasters, don’t do it,” he said. 

All CHP lawmakers left the hall after Tezcan said, “We leave you alone with your efforts.”

Some of the candidates were determined to have previous or current links to the AKP, including lawmaker candidates from the AKP and a former deputy from the Central Anatolian province of Konya.