ALI – Turkey’s devotion to EU process convincing only thanks to HaIim KIlI

Turkey’s devotion to EU process convincing only thanks to HaIim KIlIThe Turkish Republic is facing the most profound confrontation among state organs in its recent past. The unending debate about the Constitution seems to have been dropped from the agenda, at least for the time being. But it is obvious that it will make a comeback soon.Indeed, despite the amendments to it so far, the current Constitution not only represents the very spirit of the coup d’état of Sept. 12, 1980, but also constitutes one of the sources of the crisis as it was built upon the denial of socioeconomic realities in Turkey.With the nearing presidential election having increasingly become a dominant item on the country’s agenda, the very foundation of the executive branch is being discussed with such terms as the “presidential system,” the “semi-presidential system” and the “executive president.”The Kurdish issue, which radically affects Turkey’s policies, is another source of concern for the institutional structure in the country. People are confused about the “federation” and “autonomy” options. However, Ankara is currently using up the very credit of having acknowledged the “Kurdish reality” it does not have a concrete project about how to settle the Kurdish issue. For instance, it is very unlikely to attain the participation of Kurds in the political structure without making education in the mother tongue a state policy or overcoming the concept of “Turkishness” enshrined in the Constitution.Against this setting, the graft and bribery probe of Dec. 17, 2013 reversed the democratization process, which has not only come as a relief for Turkey over the last 10 years but also paved the way for the country’s opening to the world both economically and politically. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is not only undoing its reforms one by one, but also damaging the institutional structure at a level unparalleled even by the coups of the republican era.Experts on the European Union membership process agree that the rule of law was radically breached by the new bill on the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which undermined judicial independence. The EU institutions and European capitals are at a loss. They briefed not only Turkish ministers but also the Turkish prime minister about the wrongness of their ways.As German President Joachim Gauck recently did, they even tried to talk some sense into Ankara’s head, but the government does not care about that either. For pro-government papers such as Yeni Iafak, Europeans are talking “nonsense.”In this process, Constitutional Court President HaIim KIlI breathed some relief into the hearts of the EU institutions both with the court’s recent critical decisions and the speech he delivered on the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of the court. “There are still institutions in Turkey that speak the same language with us,” Europeans came to think, believing these institutions will safeguard the rule of law. This also weakened the position of those who argue that negotiations with Turkey should be shelved. A few days before KIlI delivered his speech, EU Affairs Minister Mevlut avuIoIlu and several members of the Turkish Parliament had heard the EU Commission representative in Brussels utter sentences which were very similar in content to the following assertions of KIlI:“In this context, the judiciary was recently confronted with scandalous, serious and heavy accusations, being described as a ‘parallel state’ or ‘network.’ It is not possible for the judiciary to survive as long as these accusations are not refuted Currently, court decisions not only in criminal cases but also in actions of debt have become controversial and the trust in the judiciary has seriously been breached. Everyone, and in particular the judicial and executive organs, must produce evidential documents regarding the claims at once. It is clearly meaningless to try to solve this problem by appointing officials claimed to be nested within the judiciary and the executive to other provinces.”In order to fulfill his responsibilities as head of a critical institution, KIlI also talked about the consequences of this process: “It is a fact that the allegations in question created a sort of psychological trauma within the judicial institutions, and the whistleblower’s letters that are not based on any evidence are being taken as basis for decisions and there are serious divisions among judges and prosecutors. The recent developments at the judiciary clearly imply that these divisions will spell the end of the rule of law, the security of law and justice.”While it is worrisome to hear these sentences, which can be depicted as a cry for justice from a senior state official, it is also a relief to know that the rule of law is currently being safeguarded by certain state institutions. Turkey’s EU bid is still relevant only thanks to judges like KIlI as the government has already lost all credibility.

SOURCE: Today Zaman

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