Turkish parliament set to elect 7 top judges to board of judges, prosecutors
A parliamentary voting process to attain seven members of the 13-membered Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) is set to begin on May 16, amid opposition parties’ disapproval of the voting and claims that 21 members to be attained to the board are affiliated to political parties.
The parliament’s General Assembly is set to convene on May 16 in order to elect seven members among 21 candidates to the HSK in a two-round voting process.
The parliament’s joint commission assessed 83 candidates and decided on 21 names on May 10 to be submitted to the parliamentary vote.
The voting will take place with two sessions in a secret ballot. In the first round, 367 of 550 votes will be sought to elect a candidate, while in the second round 330 votes will be determinant to mark the name.
[HH] Opposition parties protest voting
The AKP and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are supporting the election process; however their votes are enough to elect the top judges in the second tour, making other opposition parties’ votes futile.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are protesting the voting process, with both sides saying that they will not partake in any process that could amount to “legitimizing the constitutional amendment.”
Arguing that the names determined by the Parliamentary Commission are mostly affiliated to political parties, CHP deputy leader and spokesperson Bülent Tezcan said the voting is “a process that would politicize the judiciary.”
“Our stance is clear. We want an independent judiciary. We do not want any other alignment of religious organizations and politics to bring the judiciary into another dark process. We see that there is a new alignment in the judiciary. We are strictly against that,” Tezcan said.
“The voting in the parliament is a project to create a biased judiciary. We will be at the parliament and voice our criticisms. But we will not legitimize this process by voting,” he added.
‘Candidates politically affiliated’
According to the law, three out of the seven members of the HSK have to be elected from candidates from the Supreme Court, one member should be from the Council of State, and three should be selected from a list of law scholars and law professionals.
Opposition politicians, however, said the names among six law professionals are politically affiliated, with one or two to be elected to the post are from a list of names including AKP Beyoğlu district council member Songül Yazar, Beyoğlu deputy mayor Şerife Taşbaşı, AKP Women’s Branch Central Decision and Management Council member Ülkü Soylu.
While candidate Hamit Kocabey is MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s personal lawyer and an official MHP member.
Among three academics, one or two of those to be elected from the list of law scholars and professionals includes Gazi University Rector Ilhan Üzülmez, who was appointed to the post by the president.
Cafer Ergen, who is one of the three candidates to be elected from the Council of State, is a member of the “Unity in the Judiciary” movement, which is reputed to be affiliated to the AKP.
Emin Sınmaz, on the other hand, is the former director of the presidency’s legal affairs and a former member of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), the former name of the HSK.
According to the new constitution, all of the new HSK members must be elected by the end of this month. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will appoint four other members after the parliamentary vote. With the Justice Minister and the Undersecretary of the Justice Ministry who are naturally members of the board, the board will complete its 13 members.