BuLENT – So it wasn’t you who passed the public procurement law!

So it wasn’t you who passed the public procurement law!President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) tend to target each institution of the judiciary one by one. The process started with the courts of first instance and continued with higher judicial bodies.

The principle of the separation of powers and a checks and balances system constitutes one of the fundamentals of democracy. Having asserted his total control over the legislature, ErdoIan is now trying to bring the judiciary to its knees.

To do this, he hurls the harshest criticisms and even insults the judicial organs at every opportunity. He accuses those judicial bodies that pass judgments that annoy him of being andldquotraitorsandrdquo or andldquomembers of some insidious network,andrdquo and hails those who pass decisions to his liking as andldquopatriots.

andrdquoThe law concerning the Supreme Court of Appeals has been amended numerous times. Supreme Court of Appeals head Ali Alkan eventually revolted against the amendments stripping them of any initiative.

andldquoHow long will this intervention continue?andrdquo asked Alkan.The Constitution holds that all acts and actions of the executive are subjected to judicial review.

This review is performed by the administrative justice and the Council of State as its highest authority. ErdoIan fervently attacked the Council of State in connection with its decisions to annul certain acts of the executive and accused its members of andldquotreason.

andrdquo Now, the carefully selected members of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) will appoint new members to the high courts and the public perception is that the higher judiciary will come under the control of the executive. The judicial package that paves the way for this has already been passed by Parliament.

We will wait and see if ErdoIan will be pleased with the increased number of chambers and members of high courts.The Constitutional Court has been the target of similar attacks.

The court and its president, HaIim KIlI, are under heavy fire from ErdoIan and the government. The courtand#39s freedom-oriented approach to the governmentand#39s bans on social media was enough to anger ErdoIan, who was quick to label the court andldquounpatriotic.

andrdquo The court bringing the countryand#39s high election threshold to its agenda is the main reason for the latest round of salvos from government circles.Everyone, including legal professionals from the AK Party, accepts that the 10 percent threshold is unfair and runs counter to universal laws.

Actually, that is why they are uneasy. No one can raise any plausible objection if the court annuls it.

A senior AK Party officialand#39s attempt to defend the threshold, saying, andldquoIt is not us who introduced it,andrdquo is sufficiently ironic. If you ask, andldquoIt wasnand#39t you who introduced the public procurement law but why have you changed it 164 times?andrdquo they can hardly answer this.

Despite his oath to remain impartial, President ErdoIan continues to act as though he is still the head of the AK Party. He stigmatizes the Constitution Court as the andldquobyproduct of a coup dand#39andeacutetatandrdquo and its president, KIlI, as a andldquodonkey loaded with books.

andrdquo His insults are obvious scandalous, but we should also discuss his claim about the court being a andldquocoup byproduct.andrdquo It is true that the Constitutional Court was introduced with the 1961 Constitution.

Many institutions in the current system were the products of the coups of 1960 and 1980. If you claim that any institution is the product of a coup, there are two things you can do.

First, you abolish it if it is incompatible with democracy. Second, you criticize and rectify it if its acts and actions do not comply with universal laws and democracy.

Burhan Kuzu, Mustafa Ientop, Ahmet Iyimaya and AK Party executives who specialize in law know very well that constitutional justice is a fundamental component of democracy. All smoothly functioning democracies feature constitutional courts which favor freedoms and individuals.

This applies to the US, Germany and France. Were their constitutional courts established by coup perpetrators? When the French constitutional court heard a bill that introduced a penalty for those who refuse to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, everyone including ErdoIan waited in anticipation.

This should teach us the proper position of constitutional courts.Moreover, those who glorify the National Security Council (MGK) or the Higher Education Board (YK) do not sound very convincing when they sneer at the Constitutional Court as a coup product.

This is considered hypocritical for a party that promised to abolish the election threshold in its election manifesto.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman