European Parliament’s (EP) rapporteur on Turkey Ria Oomen-Ruijten has expressed great disappointment with recent developments in Turkey after the corruption investigation that went public on 17th December.
Speaking on Turkish television on Friday, the Dutch Christian EP member was highly critical of Turkey’s government policies since news of the graft probe broke which, she says, have restricted fundamental freedoms and rights.
“I was absolutely disappointed after December 17th because rule of law was questioned and even changed in a sense,” she said. “The minister of justice can now nominate judges and prosecutors. He can also decide on investigations. This cannot happen … in a democracy.” She stressed that despite protests from the EU and the Council of Europe, the authority of the Justice Minister had been radically increased.
Oomen-Ruijten said the principle of the separation of powers should guarantee that the judiciary is absolutely independent and impartial. “If you do not have this principle, you can never ever fight corruption. This is the issue at stake. That is why I was so disappointed,” she said.
The EP’s Dutch rapporteur said that her final report would have been very different if events had not turned as they had.
Referring to the ban on Twitter and You Tube, she said that she could not believe what she had heard and was emphatic that no leader in Europe would dare to ban those social media websites in their own country without losing his majority in parliament the very next day.
Nevertheless, she congratulated the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on its local election success and recommended that its leadership begins to reflect on why it is being criticised by its friends. She also suggested that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) reassess its strategy and investigate the reasons why it lost the elections.