Turkish PM lauds power separation

Turkish PM lauds power separation

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan voiced commitment to the separation of powers and against the politicization of the judiciary yesterday, after Turkey’s top judge warned they would not allow the judiciary to be “besieged.”

The legislative, judicial and executive branches must do their jobs “without trying to dominate, besiege, replace or outclass each other,” Erdoğan said at a ceremony to inaugurate the new Council of State building. The government “will no doubt be the first to object to the politicization of the judiciary,” he said.

In a speech in Ankara April 2, Constitutional Court president Haşim Kılıç earned himself applause from opposition leaders and criticism from government officials when he warned against using the law and the judicial system as tools for “taking revenge.” He said, “Just like we objected to the judiciary’s effort to besiege politics yesterday, we will not allow politics to be besieged by the judiciary today.” 

Erdoğan said mounting criticism of political meddling with the judiciary was the result of misunderstandings. “As long as we continue to believe in democracy, the problems that stem from diverging opinions, and most often from misunderstandings, can be easily resolved.” He said the government had always rejected cliques based on ideology, ethnicity and sect.

In further comments, Erdoğan said the government was committed to relieve the workload of the judiciary. He said the Council of State wrapped up 223,000 cases last year, but another 208,000 cases continued to this year. “So even if they do not take on any new cases, it still has a year’s work to do.”