Turkish justice minister says top election system in judicial body ‘a mistake,’ needs to be changed
Oya Armutçu – ANKARA
Cihan PhotoTurkish Justice Minister Kenan İpek has said the election process of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) members is wrong and needs to be changed.
İpek said the election of HSYK members by the country’s judges and prosecutors was a mistake, adding that members should be the picked in parliament just like members of Turkey’s media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK).
“Everyone sees mistakes in the HSYK election system. This system should be changed,” said İpek, referring to the latest elections at the HSYK in October 2014. This was the third round of elections which led to ruling Justice and Development (AKP) figures, who were disappointed by the first two rounds of the HSYK elections, claiming that the government was planning to change the election system of the key judicial body.
Candidates reportedly close to the government, which had gathered under the Unity in Justice Platform (YBP), had won all seven seats that were allocated for members of the civil judiciary. They also won the one seat allocated for members of the administrative judiciary in the election held on Oct. 12, 2014, in which almost 14,000 judges and prosecutors from around the country cast their votes.
The then-Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ had described the preliminary results of the third round as the judiciary’s resistance against “the hegemony of the cemaat [community],” in reference to the friend-turned-foe “parallel state” allegedly led by self-exiled Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
İpek said a new model was needed for the election of department heads at the Supreme Court of Appeals, but did not include the head and chief prosecutor posts of the institution.
“They are also not happy with the elections system,” İpek said, adding that the new parliament to come after the June general elections needed to discuss these issues during debates for a new constitution.
İpek was appointed as a justice minister early March to replace the former Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who procedurally resigned from his post, together with the interior and transportation ministers, as part of a constitutional obligation designed to ensure a neutral election environment.