Turkey’s top judicial body, the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), has suspended a judge following the leveling of corruption allegations about him by an İstanbul prosecutor, the Halk TV news website reported.
The HSK suspended Sidar Demiroğlu, the presiding judge of the İstanbul 21st High Criminal Court, after allegations of corruption within the Turkish judiciary were made by İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar in a letter to the HSK in October.
In the letter sent to the office of the HSK’s secretary-general, Uçar detailed allegations of bribery, nepotism and other irregularities within the judicial system.
The letter also included accusations against Demiroğlu, who allegedly ruled for unlawful access bans on some online content and helped in the the release of people accused of drug trafficking from jail.
The HSK tasked three inspectors with investigating the allegations in Uçar’s letter, announced by Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç in October.
The minister said any act substantiated by concrete evidence and that constitutes a crime won’t go unpunished. He also noted the need to avoid making generalizations and statements that would cast suspicion on all members of the judiciary and undermine confidence in the judicial system.
Turkey has seen an erosion in the rule of law, especially after a failed coup in July 2016, when more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors were removed under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is accused of replacing the purged judiciary members with young and inexperienced judges and prosecutors who have close links to the AKP.
In a development that confirmed the erosion of the Turkish judiciary, Turkey was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in late October, dropping one rank in comparison to last year.