By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 4, no. 3 of the Turkey Analyst)
A package of judicial reforms recently submitted to parliament by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) proposes a radical overhaul of the country’s appeal processes. The AKP’s supporters claim that the changes will transform Turkey’s overburdened and largely dysfunctional legal system. The government’s opponents maintain that they represent an attempt by the AKP to pack the court system with its own appointees and destroy the last vestiges of judicial independence.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 03, no. 19 of the Turkey Analyst)
The restructuring of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which is responsible for appointments and disciplinary procedures in the Turkish judicial system, was one of the key reforms in the package of constitutional amendments which were approved in a referendum on September 12, 2010. During the referendum campaign, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) claimed that the restructuring of bodies such as the HSYK and the Constitutional Court were prerequisites for the establishment of what it termed an “independent judiciary”. The reformed HSYK held its first meeting on October 25, 2010. Yet both its composition and its initial decisions have reinforced, rather than allayed, growing concerns both about the politicization of judicial processes in Turkey and the increasing authoritarianism of the AKP.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 2, no. 17 of the Turkey Analyst)
The third indictment in what has become known as the Ergenekon investigation takes the number of people who have been charged with membership of the “Ergenekon terrorist organization” to 194. However, like its predecessors, the third indictment fails to adduce any convincing evidence that the Ergenekon organization even exists. The third indictment, as such, has not alleviated any of the serious questions that the Ergenekon investigation has raised about the credibility of the Turkish judicial system.
Prime Minister Erdoğan’s leadership style is the subject of many comments. Eyüp Can in Radikal claims that Erdoğan wants to become Turkey’s second founding father after Atatürk. He observes that Turkey does not need another “father” who would rule with an iron fist, and that the country is too diverse for such an attempt to succeed. Murat Belge in Taraf, meanwhile, points to the societal foundations of Erdoğan’s ambitions. He suggests that the lack of democratic culture among the rural bourgeoisie that is the main force behind AKP sustains the drive to impose a majoritarian system. Meanwhile, Yüksel Taşkın in Taraf sees hope emerging that the urban bourgeoisie – the Kemalists – is going to promote democratic values, as this would conform to its class interests.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.