Turkish judiciary rulings to be subjected to review

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the amendment is aimed at the accountability of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) before the judiciary.

Turkish judiciary rulings to be subjected to review

World Bulletin / News Desk

Regarding a draft bill submitted to the Turkish parliament to amend the structure of Turkey's top judicial board, the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday, "We are actually undertaking the amendment for the accountability of the HSYK before the judiciary."

Explaining that the HSYK has the authority to issue regulations and circulars but not statements, Bozdag noted that the rulings of the board cannot be reviewed by the judiciary.

"So, it issues regulations but no one can claim their unconstitutionality and file a case against the board," said Bozdag.

Referring to the Turkish parliament's accountability to the judiciary when it makes laws, the Turkish justice minister said its legislations are reviewed first by the political power, the public opinion and then the Constitutional Court.

"What we have done now is to make the Justice Ministry open to judicial review for anything it issues. We are setting up a structure that is safer and more suitable for a state of law. Only when it falls within its authority cited in the constitution, will the head of HSYK be able to issue such regulations and circulars, after consulting the related departments. After issuing a regulation and circular, HSYK will be accountable before the judiciary if it is lacking or is criticized," Bozdag told reporters.

Bozdag highlighted that a structure that could not be judged had now become subject to judicial review.

The HSYK, the disciplinary body of the legal system of Turkey, issued a statement in late December calling the amendments to judicial police regulation unconstitutional, and saying that the separation of powers and independence of jurisdiction were particularly violated.

The revising to the judiciary system comes after claims that an anti-graft operation on December 17 which resulted in the arrest of many government loyalists was a coup attempt against the ruling AK Party.

EU 'concerned' over police sackings in Turkey

The European Commission voiced concern over the firing of hundreds of high ranking Turkish police officers and chiefs in the last three weeks in the wake of an anti-graft probe underlining that it could impact the independence and impartiality of current investigations.

"These steps could undermine current investigations and the capacity of the judiciary and police to investigate matters in an independent manner," EU Commission spokesperson Olivier Bailly said, warning that the firing, reassigning and removing of police officers could damage investigations.

The Istanbul-based anti-graft operation was launched in December last year, leading to the arrest of two dozens of high-profile bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen, including the sons of two former cabinet ministers and the head of state-owned lender Halkbank.

The Turkish prime minister defied the graft allegations as "a dirty plot" to undermine his government.

As a candidate country for EU membership, Turkey should "take all the necessary measures to ensure that allegations of wrongdoing are addressed without discrimination or preference in a transparent and impartial manner," he added.

Bailly underlined that any action which undermines the effectiveness of investigations should be avoided.

"The removal of a large number of police officers from their posts during the past three weeks, culminating in the removal of 350 police in Ankara on Monday night, is a matter of concern due to its possible impact on the independence, impartiality and efficiency of current investigations," he said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ocak 2014, 09:51