Lawyers march against judiciary law in Turkey

Lawyers and judges protested on Sunday against a new law opponents claims will undermine judicial independence in Turkey.

Lawyers march against judiciary law in Turkey
Lawyers and judges led the demonstration to protest against the law, which changes the appointment process for judges and prosecutors.

The law introduces a justice ministry interview into the selection process. Critics suggest that opens the way for political interference.

Opponents have also criticised President Abdullah Gul, a former member of the ruling AK Party whose role is to review legislation, for approving the law in just a few days.

However, Gul's office said a review of the law had started before the draft went to parliament.

'They do not know the importance of judicial independence ... but we will explain it to them, we will teach them,' Turkish Bar Association Chairman Ozdemir Ozok shouted to the crowd in Ankara.

The judiciary is traditionally a bastion of secularism and the march turned into a pro-secularist rally.

'Turkey is secular and will remain secular!' protesters shouted, waving Turkish flags and pictures of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern secular republic.

No official figures were available, but television footage showed around 5,000-10,000 people at the march, held amid tight security.

The AK Party is preparing a new constitution, to replace a text drafted after a 1980 military coup, and secularists say the new text will blur the strict separation of religion and state.

The party signalled last week it planned to ease a ban on the use of Muslim headscarves at universities in the new charter, something that many girls forced to leave their educations in decades.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Aralık 2007, 11:25
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