At a time when the Turkish judiciary is under intense criticism for acting on orders from the government, ultra-nationalist Homeland Party (VP) Chairman Doğu Perinçek said on Tuesday that Turkey’s judicial system is living its golden age.
“Is this a bad judicial system? Where will you find one better than this? Is this one bad because they are prosecuting and imprisoning ‘FETÖ’ (a derogatory term used by government circles to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement) members? That is why I am calling it the golden age [of the judiciary],” said Perinçek.
His remarks came during a live broadcast on the Ulusal Kanal TV station.
Perinçek also said during a radio program that everyone in prisons were either from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or Gülen movement, which is accused by Turkish authorities of being behind a failed coup last summer, and that injustices could be ignored.
According to the t24 news website, the government has dismissed 4,238 of Turkey’s 14,661 judges and prosecutors since July 15, 2016. The government has been criticized for using the coup attempt as an excuse to purge judges and prosecutors and replace them with names close to the ruling the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Barış Yarkadaş recently said the AKP government had recruited for the position of judge 800 lawyers who had ties to the party.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on Aug. 17, 2016 announced a government plan to name 8,000 new judges and prosecutors by the end of 2016.
On Dec 8, 2016, the European Networks of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) suspended the observer status of Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and excluded it from participation in ENCJ activities for the mass suspension and dismissal of judges and prosecutors and the failure to comply with the European Standards for Councils for the Judiciary.
Despite ideological differences with the AKP and President Erdoğan, Perinçek, who is known for his pro-Russian and fascist views, openly supports Erdoğan’s purge and witch-hunt against the Gülen movement.
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 military 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 turkishminute.com) June 21, 2017