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President Gul approves controversial Judiciary bill

26 February 2014

Turkish President Gul approved a controversial bill on Tuesday which re-structures the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).

The bill was passed on 15th February following an all-night debate in parliament which erupted into a fist fight between MP’s on both sides of the house.

The president said that he had warned that elements in the bill were “unconstitutional”.

He said in a statement:

“I asked for an examination of the bill and noted that 15 elements in 12 articles were incompatible with the Constitution. I warned the justice minister [about it],” he said, adding that the Constitutional Court would have the last word on the bill.

“In line with my warnings, I saw that changes were made [reducing] the powers given to the minister, particularly regarding the appointment of the HSYK heads of departments, the appointment of inspectors, the disciplinary penalties, and the release of regulations and circulars, which will be given back to the HSYK’s plenary committee,” the statement added.

“Apart from these clear incompatibilities [with the Constitution], I deemed it more suitable that the other articles of the bill be assessed by the Constitutional Court,” Gul said.

Similarly, last week, President Gul signed off on an Internet bill after he had asked the government to make amendments to it. The two controversial bills have drawn concern and criticism that they undermine the democratic process from the international community.

The opposition has claimed that the bill was introduced in order to try and stifle a corruption investigation which was launched on 17th December, last year.

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