GuNAL – Denied justice

Denied justiceThe Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme, a project funded by the European Union, andldquoaims to increase the number of experts in the EU field and support Turkeyand#39s administrative capacity building efforts for the effective implementation of EU acquis within the framework of Turkeyand#39s negotiation process for full membership to the EU.andrdquo The program began in the 1990-1991 academic year by providing its first scholars educational opportunities in EU member countries.

It is one of Turkeyand#39s longest-running projects. More than 1,000 young scholars or experts from the public and private sectors have benefited from it up to today.

I read on that many judges and public prosecutors commented yesterday that Turkeyand#39s Ministry of Justice has for the past several months been denying judges and prosecutors permission to pursue graduate studies abroad, even though the government continues to aertise for applications.

With a little investigation, I learned that the Ministry of Justice refuses to give permission even for a few months to judges and prosecutors who apply to the programThe main reason for a judge or prosecutor to apply to this program is to know better the principles, applications and implementations of legal norms in the European context. I have several friends who have benefited from the program I called a few of them and asked what they think about it.

They say the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme opened new dimensions in their life and slightly changed their way of looking at legal matters in Turkey. One of them said to me that he concentrated on European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) applications and saw the reality of how the law must be applied and implemented in order to have a better understanding of justice.

By rejecting applications, the ministry is trying to limit judges and prosecutorsand#39 ability to learn and it tries to limit their development. The ministry wants every judge and prosecutor in Turkey to think in accordance with the ministryand#39s subjective legal understanding of the 1950s.

Starting from the end of World War II, the Ministry of Justice has been the most conservative ministry in the Turkish bureaucracy. We can see quite contemporary interpretations of public law even in the Interior Ministry, but the Ministry of Justice is not able to let lawyers to think freely, interpret intangible legal norms and implement them to concrete events.

The ministry denies justice by acting so selfishly that closes its doors to new developments in the field of justice. It not only denies justice but also it closes doors to the rule of law and accountability.

It means that there is neither justice nor development in the Ministry of Justice even though it is controlled by the Justice and Development Party (AKP).Yesterday, I read that the fourth president of Kosovo and a female lawyer, Atifete Jahjaga, said: andldquoDemocracy must be built through open societies that share information.

When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions.

When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.andrdquo President Jahjaga is right, and Turkey should take this as an example.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman