Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), on Wednesday rejected a parliamentary motion filed by the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) aimed at investigating alleged corruption among members of the judiciary, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Kronos news website.
The allegations of corruption in the Turkish judicial community recently came to public attention after İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar sent a letter to the Council of Judges and Prosecutors’ (HSK) secretary-general alleging widespread corruption in the country’s judicial system.
In the letter sent on Oct. 6, Uçar detailed allegations of bribery, nepotism and other irregularities in the judicial system. The letter also included accusations against Bekir Altun, president of the İstanbul Judicial Commission.
He alleged that decisions were made by İstanbul’s criminal courts of peace at the Anadolu Courthouse to block access to internet content and to release suspects in exchange for money.
The AKP and MHP lawmakers’ refusal to investigate the alleged corruption within the judiciary has attracted criticism from HEDEP, formerly known as the Green Left Party (YSP), and other opposition parties in parliament.
HEDEP’s Meral Danış Bektaş accused the AKP government of aiming for the functioning of the judiciary based on bribes and a continuation of its pressure on judicial members by rejecting the motion.
İYİ Party lawmaker Uğur Poyraz said there are dozens of similar letters written by the heads of bar associations and lawyers across the country that include similar accusations but that the government is turning a blind eye to them in order to maintain its grip on the judiciary.
Earlier this week, Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç announced that an investigation has been launched into the allegations of corruption in the judiciary that were voiced by Uçar. However, it remains to be seen how far the investigation will go.
Turkey has seen an erosion in the rule of law especially after a failed coup in July 2016 when more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors were removed from their posts under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.
The AKP is accused of replacing the purged judiciary members with young and inexperienced judges and prosecutors who had close links to the AKP.
Turkey was ranked 116th among 140 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in October 2022.