Turkish government rejects criticism from top judge Kılıç

Turkish government rejects criticism from top judge Kılıç

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish government rejects criticism from top judge Kılıç

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks at his party’s group meeting. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Top government officials responded harshly yesterday to the head of the Constitutional Court, who had raised misgivings over political pressure on the judiciary, with opposition parties lending him support.

“Our country has a system of separation of powers. None of these powers has the authority to besiege another,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters yesterday. “As you know, we are a party that has been besieged before, and because we have experienced it, we will not allow any power to besiege another,” he added.

Erdoğan was commenting on a speech by Constitutional Court head Haşim Kılıç on April 2, in which he warned against using the law and the judicial system as a tool for “taking revenge.” In further comments, Kılıç said “Just as we objected to the judiciary’s effort to besiege politics yesterday, we will not allow politics to be besieged by the judiciary today.”

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ bluntly rejected Kılıç’s criticism. “No one is besieging anyone. There is no indication whatsoever that the government is exerting pressure on the judiciary. Everyone must stay within the limits of their respective fields,” Bozdağ said. He struck back, saying that “in most situations, it is the judiciary that is taking on the role of the executive branch and thus narrowing our sphere.”

Opposition leaders applauded Kılıç, even though they said he should have spoken out earlier. “It was a belated but a very positive statement,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said yesterday. Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli urged other members of the judiciary to follow suit. “If he [Kılıç] and others in the judiciary stand behind this warning, the politicization of the judiciary and its exploitation for certain purposes will be prevented. It was a very positive speech even though it came late,” Bahçeli said.

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