New Judicial Reform Strategy will become law without delay, justice minister says
Turkey’s new Judicial Reform Strategy will become law without delay, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said on May 31.
“This will become law without delay, all the measures required by the administration will be taken very quickly,” Gül told state-run Anadolu Agency.
“Our basic approach is to extend freedom of expression, freedom of thought, rights and freedoms without delay. We will build a system where no one is imprisoned or convicted because of their statement, opinion or criticism,” the minister said.
“Everyone will speak freely, no one will silence themselves, and they will be able to express his criticism. As the [ruling Justice and Development Party] AK Party, we took very important steps in this regard, but sometimes there are differences in practice, sometimes it is necessary to update the legislation,” Gül noted.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 30 unveiled a long-awaited judicial reform package, saying that it shows Turkey’s commitment to full EU membership despite “promises that haven’t been kept.”
The government has studied EU criteria along with demands made by Turkish citizens in shaping the reform strategy, Erdoğan said about the document which mentions 63 targets and 356 actions. He noted that the government “takes steps for the use of detention measures prudently.”
Gül reminded that there was no distinction in the past regarding the maximum period of detention amid investigation and prosecution, saying the new system would regulate the duration of detentions.
The minister said they would bring an understanding that will make it compulsory for prosecutors to complete their investigation and prosecute at a time determined by a law adopted by parliament. Gül said the prosecutors will be given broad authority to complete the investigation process as soon as possible.
Elaborating on the release of journalist Kadri Gürsel who was released hours after being rearrested to serve out a remaining prison sentence on May 29, the minister said “Why was he wearing handcuffs? That image is really not very acceptable. Together, we believe that such deficiencies will be eliminated in this reform process. His imprisonment for the day was a requirement of the procedure.”
Gürsel is among former staffers of the Cumhuriyet newspaper sentenced to less than five years in jail on charges of “aiding and abetting terror groups without being a member” but had been freed due to the time they served during the trial.