News / Europe

Turkish Opposition Challenges Law Tightening Grip on Judiciary

FILE - Turkish legislators from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party and the main opposition Republican People's Party brawl during a tense all-night debate over a controversial law on changes to a council that appoints and overseas judges a
FILE - Turkish legislators from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party and the main opposition Republican People's Party brawl during a tense all-night debate over a controversial law on changes to a council that appoints and overseas judges a
Reuters
— Turkey's main opposition party asked the top court on Friday to overturn a law tightening government control of the judiciary, which it sees as part of efforts by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to snuff out a corruption scandal.
 
Hours after the law was enacted late on Thursday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag appointed at least nine new senior members of the judiciary. The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said the law contained many violations of the constitution, and appealed to the Constitutional Court to repeal it.
 
Voice recordings posted on YouTube this week purporting to be Erdogan discussing financial matters with his son have piled pressure on him as he battles graft allegations, which pose one of the biggest challenges of his 11-year rule.
 
Erdogan has said the recordings are a “fabricated montage” and has accused U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose network of followers is believed to have built extensive influence in the police and judiciary over decades, of contriving the corruption scandal to try to unseat him.
 
The new law gives the government more control over the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which makes top judicial appointments.
 
After a preliminary review, the Constitutional Court late on Friday asked the CHP to remedy technical errors in its paperwork and resubmit the appeal, NTV news channel reported and cited party officials as saying they would do so.
 
Erdogan had already responded to the graft investigation by dismissing or reassigning thousands of police officers and hundreds of judges and prosecutors, in what his aides acknowledge is a drive to wipe out Gulen's influence.
 
“With this law, the HSYK comes under the orders of the justice minister,” Akif Hamzacebi, a senior deputy of the Republican People's Party [CHP], told reporters.
 
“This is clearly in violation of the principles of separation of powers and the independence of courts,” he said, after filing the party's appeal.

Suspects all released
 
The corruption scandal, which Erdogan has described as an attempted “judicial coup” ahead of elections this year, erupted on December 17 with the arrest of dozens of bureaucrats and businessmen close to him, as well as three ministers' sons.
 
Prosecutors decided on Friday to release the two remaining ministers' sons and an Iranian gold dealer arrested that day, the Dogan news agency said, which will mean none of those originally detained two months ago are still being held.
 
The law on the judiciary is among several the government is pushing through parliament before local elections on March 30. It has already tightened control of the Internet and is seeking greater powers for the state intelligence agency MIT.
 
Turkey has been seeking membership of the European Union for decades, and the moves have raised concerns in Brussels that it is shifting away from EU norms.
 
The government says they are necessary to rescue judicial independence from Gulen's influence, to protect individual privacy online from the sort of recordings appearing on YouTube and to give its spy agency greater power to guard its citizens.
 
Gulen has repeatedly denied seeking to pull the levers of state power.
 
President Abdullah Gul, who approved the judiciary law on Wednesday, has said his objections secured last-minute changes to the bills addressing some of the concerns. But the opposition still disputes their legality.
 
Hamzacebi called on the Constitutional Court to suspend the implementation of the HSYK law to prevent staff being removed from their posts, as envisaged by the legislation.
 
Around 1,000 unelected staff, including its secretary-general, inspectors, audit judges and administrative staff, could lose their jobs or be reassigned as a result of the law, according to media reports.
 
Bozdag appointed five new deputy general secretaries, a new head of the HSYK's supervisory board and three supervisory board members on Friday. He also named a new head of the Justice Academy, where members of the judiciary receive training.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid