CHP deputy Çiçek says Turkish judges, prosecutors tired of pressure

Dursun Çiçek

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Dursun Çiçek has said judges and prosecutors in the country are tired of government pressure and they want to be free from it.

Çiçek’s remarks came during an interview  published by the Sözcü daily on Thursday.

Voicing his support for a “March for Justice,”  initiated by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on June 15, Çiçek criticized the government for imposing pressure on the judiciary. “This government does not care about law and justice. The real purpose of the ‘March for Justice’ is to at least ease the pressure on the judiciary by the palace [Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] and create a political atmosphere for judiciary members to make decisions in accordance with law until the 2019 elections,” he said.

The Turkish government is being widely criticized for taking the judiciary under its control and imposing pressure on the judiciary members to make politically-motivated decisions. The government has removed thousands of judges and prosecutors from their posts on coup charges since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The March of Justice, which was launched in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, started in Ankara and is expected to last for 25 days and end at Maltepe Prison, where Berberoğlu is jailed.

Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 14 for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

A  comprehensive report, whic was released by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) titled “Turkey’s descent into arbitrariness: The end of rule of law” , provides detailed information on how the rule of law has lost meaning in Turkish context, confirming the effective collapse of all domestic judicial and administrative remedies available for Turkish citizens who lodge complaints on rights violations.

It lists many recent cases showing the ways in which  President Erdoğan and his associates in the government manipulates judiciary through loyalists and partisans. An unprecedented intimidation campaign against independent judges and prosecutors including unlawful arrests and arbitrary assets seizures was pursued by political authorities.

In addition to jailing thousands of judges and prosecutors, Turkey has also imprisoned hundreds of human rights defenders and lawyers, making extremely difficult for detainees to access to a lawyer in violation of a due process and fair trial protections under the Turkish Code on Criminal Procedures.

Turkey survived a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting participants of the Gülen movement in jails.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13. (SCF with June 29, 2017

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