GuNAL – Limitation of state power

Limitation of state powerI attended a meeting in Ankara yesterday organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), Law and Life Association (HHD) and Human Rights Agenda Association (IHG). The stateand#39s authority, power and limitations were on the table for discussion with famous and well-known lawyers, professors and intellectuals of Ankara This was the first meeting of a group of academic conferences called andldquoCapital Gatheringsandrdquo (BaIkent BuluImalarI) and it will continue with different topics.

During the meeting I noticed that both the invited speakers and the people who joined the discussions were trying to maintain their hope for the future however, they all admit that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) will not confine itself to the concept of the rule of law. In some countries like Turkey, governments put arbitrariness at the center and build an administration without the concept of the rule of law.

Therefore, law is simply used as a tool to fulfill the governmentand#39s subjective will and as a whip to punish those outside of its circle. In fact, the stateand#39s authority and power have limitations — we call it the law.

If you put arbitrariness at the center instead of law, you will not able to build a state dependent on law and will begin to see prohibitions and restrictions as a goal, as this government has.In the area of criminal law, if you do not put rights and freedoms at the center, as Cesare Beccaria said nearly 250 years ago, it will not be possible to maintain a criminal justice system based on human rights.

Very few judges understand that there must be rights and freedoms at the center of criminal law, instead of prohibitions and restrictions, and we are not able to see reasonable interpretations and implementations by these adjudicators.In the area of administrative law, if you put arbitrariness at the center, instead of binding the state with legal rules, it will be possible to see 164 amendments to the Public Procurement Law.

It is true that in Turkey the AKP amended the Public Procurement Law, which is applicable in all tenders and state sponsored business, 164 times between 2002 and 2013. This is clearly arbitrary and gives us enough grounds to think that this country is becoming more distant from the rule of law day by day.

In the area of constitutional law, if you distance yourself from the rule of law and do not think that all of these powers must have limitations, the monster Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes can easily appear within that power Freedom House, a well-known global organization that aocates for human rights, declared its andldquoFreedom on the Net 2014andrdquo report a few days ago, and Turkey has scored 55 points out of 100, giving the country a andldquopartly freeandrdquo status again. The difference in this report is that the countryand#39s press freedom status is andldquonot free.

andrdquo According to Transparency International (TI), another global organization that analyzes perceptions of corruption in the world, Turkey scored 45 points out of 100, a significant fall from 2013 when it scored 50 points and was ranked 64 out of 175 countries. These statistics show that not only is the country failing to meet universal standards of human rights and democracy, it is also getting worse after losing its momentum to become a successful candidate to join the European Union.

I wonder if in the near future we will see in newspapers reports like andldquoThe president has ratified and sent a new law to Parliament to be drafted and discussed.andrdquo By the way, another shocking point is that there are very limited criticisms from the European Union toward Turkey.

As Dr Martin Luther King, Jr once said, andldquoIn the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.andrdquo.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman