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Turkey’s Constitutional Court overturns Erdogan’s judicial bill

11 April 2014

Turkey’s Constitutional Court partly has overturned a controversial judicial bill today at the same time, demanding a redefinition of the justice minister’s legal powers.

The contentious bill affecting the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), drafted by the government following graft allegations, spurred weeks of debate concerning the independence of Turkey’s judiciary.

The court has overturned the articles in the law regarding new powers conferred to the justice minister.

On 2nd March, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) filed an appeal to the Court, arguing that the law gave extraordinary authority to the justice minister.

After the law came into force in February, some members of the HSYK were dismissed and replaced following approval by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag.

CHP deputy Sezgin Tanrikulu has called on the recently instated members “to ethically resign” in deference to the new ruling by the Court.

He said that “they should resign as soon as the decision is published in the Official Gazette. The independence of the judiciary is very important and no shadow should be cast over it.”

Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) president, Metin Feyzioglu applauded the ruling and added that it had come as no surprise to him.

“The Constitutional Court has cleared Turkey’s path. It is one of the decisions that shows how important the Constitutional Court is. It says that, according to the Constitution, there can be no law that conflicts with the independence and neutrality of judges and prosecutors,” Feyzioglu said.

AKP Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah Isler has condemned the ruling, describing the timing and speed of the decision as “meaningful.”

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