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Request to annul Judiciary bill made by Turkish opposition

28 February 2014

An application to the Turkish Constitutional Court (above) was made today by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) requesting the annulment of a controversial bill reshaping the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), an institution whose key function is to safeguard the independence of the judiciary.

Having come into law, the measure has ended the tenures of the current secretary general, deputy secretary generals, the president of the inspection board, deputies of the president of the inspection board, inspectors of the board, investigative judges and administrative staff at the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).

Ten days after the law has come into force, the HSYK president will appoint the new president of the inspection board, deputies of the president of the inspection board and deputy secretary generals.

The law also ended the tenures of president, vice president, secretary general, director and deputy directors of the education centre, and members of the General Assembly, the Executive Board and the Inspection Board. It also ends the tenures of judges and prosecutors who were previously assigned tasks and other staff at the Turkish Justice Academy.

The law appeared in the Official Gazette late on 27th February despite being signed by President Abdullah Gul a day earlier, and CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Akif Hamzacebi said the delay may be a sign of a reshuffle within the HSYK.

“I think the Justice Ministry has been planning who is to be appointed to the HSYK. We will see if my prediction is accurate,” Hamzacebi told reporters today.

He stressed that if the law was annulled by the Constitutional Court, provisions regarding the reassignments of HSYK officials would also be null.

“In such a case, those [HSYK members] who would be replaced will have the right to make an application to the judiciary to return to their old assignments,” he said, adding that he believed the court would rule quickly on the matter.

President Gul had acknowledged that the law bestowed excessive powers on the justice minister, stressing that his team of legal experts found 15 breaches of the Constitution in the 12 articles of the law. Gul said he had made the necessary warnings to the government, adding that he deemed it more suitable that further assessment be carried out by the Constitutional Court.

“It is not the right thing for Gul to send the ball into the CHP’s court. As president, he can file an application to the Constitutional Court or veto it. His task is to send laws back to the Parliament or open an annulation case at the Constitutional Court just like [his predecessor] Ahmet Necdet Sezer,” Hamzacebi said.

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