Turkish government announces new strategy to reform the judiciary

Turkish government announces new strategy to reform the judiciary

Turkish government announces new strategy to reform the judiciary

AA Photo

The Turkish government has announced a new strategy to reform the judiciary, vowing to amend the Attorney’s Act and other related laws in a bid to boost judicial independence and impartiality. 

“Recent developments have clearly shown there is a need for comprehensive reforms to the judiciary to protect its respectability in society and to enhance its functions and its relations with other powers, as well as its philosophical foundation,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said April 17. 

The five objectives of the reform are to enhance judicial independence and impartiality, to bring about accountability and transparency in judicial acts, to speed up judicial processes, to establish a human-focused judiciary and to highlight a freedom-driven judiciary, Davutoğlu said. 

This reform package is directly linked with Turkey’s European Union process, particularly with the opening of the 23rd chapter on the judiciary. “Turkey and our government will continue its decisive walk in its reform process regardless the EU’s position [vis-à-vis Turkey],” he said. 

Fulfillment of the entire package will take time and the government will consult all relevant actors during this process, Davutoğlu noted, underlining they will try to unite different judicial bodies under an integrated system to avoid conflicting situations among them.  

“There may be discussion in politics. Different opinions in politics are only natural but people’s trust in the judiciary should be 100 percent, not even 70, 80 or 90 percent. People can only feel comfortable if they have full trust in the judiciary,” he said.

Attorney Act to be amended

One of the measures the government is planning is to enhance the defense in the judiciary by overhauling the Attorney Act through consultations with bars, lawyers and other relevant actors. The objective of the move is to strengthen the defense leg of the judiciary and to resolve lawyers’ problems.  

The notary system is also going to be renewed, with new authorities to be pledged to notaries in a bid to reduce the burden on the judiciary, Davutoğlu said. 

Individual applications to top court

On whether the government is going to take away the right to individual application to the Constitutional Court, Davutoğlu said it was this government which introduced this right to Turkey and to the contrary of claims, it has not disturbed this process. 

The prime minister said it was the top court that complained about the growing number of individual applications, which prevent the court from doing its main jobs. “30,000 cases of individual applications wait before the Constitutional Court. This is even more than the European Court of Human Rights that accepts applications from 55 countries,” he said.