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Gul brokers deal between Erdogan and opposition party on judiciary

14 January 2014

Following meetings with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan has said that his government is willing to “freeze” the controversial bill which affects the judiciary, if opposition parties agree to support the constitutional amendment on the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).

“If the opposition says, ‘Let’s do the constitutional amendment together,’ we will freeze the bill proposal. We will even not submit it to the General Assembly [agenda] if necessary,” Erdogan said today in reference to a draft bill that fomented physical violence and heated debates at parliamentary commissions over the weekend.

Erdogan’s offer came a day after an initiative from President Gul, who held meetings with the leaders of three opposition parties in Parliament to help resolve the row over the judiciary sparked after a damaging corruption scandal. Following his talks with the opposition leaders on Monday, Gul held a final meeting with Erdogan.

“If we can do this, the government and the opposition all together, this would be a gain for our country. I am making a clear offer. All the parliamentary groups will have the opportunity to be represented on the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors the same way they are represented at the Radio and Television Supreme Council [RTUK],” Erdogan said during an AKP group meeting in Parliament.

“If we can quickly pass a constitutional amendment of a few articles, we will freeze our legal arrangement works and continue with a constitutional amendment,” Erdogan said.

Before Erdogan’s speech, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chair Nurettin Canikli submitted the proposal to the opposition parties. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) agreed to consider the proposition, however, it was rejected by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) representatives.

The opposition CHP party made it a condition that the controversial bill be withdrawn in return for his party’s support for the government’s proposed constitutional amendment.

“We want to prevent political interventions against the judiciary. We want the judiciary to be independent. We want a judiciary which holds its own command,” Kilicdaroglu told reporters following his 45-minute meeting with President Gul on Monday.

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