- Published: 08 May 2014
Medel is following closely the discussions on the judicial reform bill currently before the Turkish Grand National Assembly. MEDEL would like to stress that an independent and impartial judiciary, based on a clear separation of powers and in line with European standards, is key for a democratic system of checks and balances.
We call on the Government and Parliament of Turkey to anchor any reform of the Judiciary to the criteria of the Venice Commission, particularly to respect the role of the Constitutional Court and to abide the decisions of the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court ruled on April 2 that the Twitter ban is unconstitutional and unlawful.
The Constitutional Court partially annulled on April 11 that it partially a highly controversial law to restructure the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which went into effect in February after being approved by the president.
These recent decisions of the Court have made an important contribution to strengthening the independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression in Turkey. During complicated times for the Turkish Justice the Court has shown through these decisions its ability to effectively fulfill its constitutional role as an independent and impartial body defending the values enshrined in the Turkish Constitution.
The Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ comment on the judgement of the Constitutional Court was to explain that since the decisions of the Constitutional Court are not retrospective, the appointments made from the entry into force of the Law until the annulment are valid and in force.
On the Constitutional Court's decisions regarding Twitter and Youtube, the HCJP and the Internet Law, PM Erdoğan stated, "The constitutional institution is defending the commercial law of international companies while it should be defending the rights of the public. Everyone should know their place and their boundaries. Everyone should know their authority."
Constitutional Court President Haşim Kılıç has said on April 11 the judiciary in Turkey is under a “new form of tutelage.” He added: “Today, even the simplest court decisions about debt collection cases are opened to discussion, and confidence in the judiciary is wounded”.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ accused Mr. Kılıç as working against the government as if it was an opposition party. Primeminister Erdoğan has called on Kılıç to take of his judge’s robes and get into politics if he wants to challenge the government.
MEDEL is concerned about recent statements criticizing the Court and the Court president Haşim Kılıç just for exercising its constitutional functions. While courts are not exempt from public criticism and democratic debate, excessive criticism by holders of public office risks undermining their independence, and, in this specific case, jeopardizing the important progress already made in Turkey.
MEDEL is calling on all public authorities and media in Turkey to cease attacks against the Constitutional Court and the Constitutional Court President Haşim Kılıç.