Turkish gov't delays implementation of crucial law reshaping key judicial body
'The government has no authority to keep it unpublished. It immediately has to send the law to the printing house,' Akif Hamzaçebi from CHP told reporters. CİHAN PhotoAlthough President Abdullah Gül signed a highly controversial law reshaping the country’s key judicial body early on Feb. 26, the government has delayed entering it into force, as the law is still yet to appear in the Official Gazette.
According to the Turkish Constitution, laws enter into force only after being published in the Official Gazette and there are no specific provisions as to how long a law signed by the president can be kept at the Prime Ministry before being published in the gazette. The law increasing the government’s control over the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) was signed by the president on Feb. 26 with an explanation that contentious articles should be discussed by the Constitutional Court.
The deputy parliamentary group leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) described the delay as an “operational tactic of the government.”
“The government has no authority to keep it unpublished. It immediately has to send the law to the printing house,” Akif Hamzaçebi told reporters Feb. 27. He added that two of his party’s lawmakers had gone to the printing house, but were told openly that the printers had not received instructions from the government for the publication of the law.
The publication of the law in the Official Gazette is important as it is only after then that a party can apply to the Constitutional Court for the law’s annulment.
“Our petition is ready, we are following closely,” Hamzaçebi said, underlining that the CHP would make its application as soon as possible after the law enters into force.
He also claimed that the government was seeking to make changes to the HSYK before passing the law officially. “The reason they want to delay its publication is because a number of HSYK officials will be automatically dismissed, and they want to immediately make the necessary appointments to replace these positions. They want to take all necessary steps against a potential annulment of the law by the Constitutional Court. I don’t know whether the court will make this decision, but they are taking their precautions,” Hamzaçebi said.
A number of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials have said there were “no problems” with regard to the publication of the HSYK law, but the law had still not been published late Feb. 27.