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CHP deputy chairman: Gov’t reshapes judiciary to avoid possible trial

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Erdal Aksünger has said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government passed a controversial legislation that stipulates redesigning the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State in order to avoid possible trial.

Turkish parliament last week passed a legislation to redesign the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State by demoting or dismissing hundreds of senior judicial members.

“They [senior government members] are designing to eliminate all the prosecutors and judges to research all the crimes committed and likely to be committed by the members of the political power,” Aksünger said.

Referring to the accusation of “membership in parallel state,” the CHP deputy added, “We are living in quite abnormal days. They have created a bag called parallel [to use as an excuse and put everything inside]. This issue is beyond the [Gülen] movement. They have rasped and molded the independent judiciary, which might put them on trial, into one that they like.”

Making a comparison between Hitler era and today’s Turkey, Aksünger underlined that the current political power has the same dreams Hitler had back then.

“Turkey is, in fact, living 1930’s Hitler era. In Hitler’s Germany, too, they dismissed 65 percent of judges from profession and replaced them with ones that are loyal to the political power to create a judicial order of their own. At the end, Germany has suffered a dramatic process.”

Aksünger finally warned against the legislation, saying, “This is a blow against the judiciary that would threaten citizens’ futures. It is plain and simple. This is in fact a civilian coup. Independent judiciary is suspended. This could have serious consequences in the future.”

The Constitutional Court recently rejected an appeal by CHP against the legislation, arguing that it has not been published on the Official Gazette yet.

CHP İstanbul deputy Özgür Özel spoke to the press over rejection of their appeal and said that they will appeal again immediately after the legislation was published.

“What we expect from the Constitutional Court is to gather immediately [after the appeal] and do what needs to be done. If they use the Eid al-Fitr [the holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan] as an excuse not to show up, justice will be lost,” Özel added.

With the new law Turkish parliament passed last week, the number of chambers in the Supreme Court of Appeals will drop from 46 to 24, half of which will be criminal chambers. Also the number of judges and prosecutors serving for the Supreme Court of Appeals, which is currently 516, will be reduced to 200.

The Turkish Union of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV) and the Union of Judges recently delivered a joint press statement, saying that judicial independence is being compromised with the new bill.

Metin Feyzioğlu — the head of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) –, Murat Arslan — the president of YARSAV – and Professor Sami Selçuk — the Honorary President of the Supreme Court of Appeals – also previously responded harshly to the bill, arguing that it is an attempt to refurnish the top judiciary with pro-government judges and prosecutors.

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