GuNAL – What rule of law?

What rule of law?It is so hard, even for a legal expert like me, to follow the changes to the Turkish legal system Especially after Dec. 17, one can sense an atmosphere of panic in Turkey’s legal environment.

The panic-stricken government enacts a law, repeals it after two months and enacts it again one month later This has become the pattern of legal politics for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.When important articles are hidden in a sack law, anything can happen.

This style of lawmaking is now the standard and the policy of ErdoIan’s new Turkey. A sack law — containing more than 300 articles concerning issues that include subcontractors, tenders, the appointments of teachers, tax amnesty, the authority of criminal courts, the re-configuration of the debts of craftsmen and the rights of disabled people — is now being discussed in Parliament.

It is a problematic and unsystematic style of lawmaking, and it can be difficult to find what you are looking for in this stack of articles. For the most part, debates concerning new laws like this are held during the months of June or July — near the end of the parliamentary session — and overnight between 7 pm and 6 am — when the Parliament TV channel is not broadcasting — in order to hide what is said there.

As an example, the AKP created a law in 2011 that prevents compensation cases from being filed against judges and prosecutors after Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Mehmet Haberal filed such a suit in the Supreme Court of Appeals against judges involved in the Ergenekon trial. At the beginning of 2014, they changed it to once again make it possible to file this kind of case.

In June 2014, another amendment to the law in question changed it back to the way it was in 2011.This clearly shows the panicked situation of the ErdoIan government on legal issues and in their efforts to control the judiciary.

They abolished the specially authorized courts established in Article 10 of the Counterterrorism Law (TMK), but established penal judges of peace with special powers in March 2014. Previously, criminal courts of peace were authorized to issue warrants of arrest, detention, judicial control, or search and seizure, but since the passage of the law establishing penal judges of peace, only certain judges specifically appointed by the Ministry of Justice are allowed to rule in these matters.

This new authority is not limited to a specific judge’s jurisdiction, but can include neighboring cities as well. Appeals submitted for cases in which public prosecutors decide not to prosecute will go to these penal judges of peace , as will complaints related to decisions about search and seizure.

This is a clear method of concentrating judicial power in one place.Last week, an attempt to limit attorneys’ authorization to examine case files was presented to Parliament.

In contemporary criminal justice systems, the defense counsel in a case is allowed to examine statements used as evidence against a defendant. This draft law fully limits this access and undermines the powers of defendants and their counsel.

Not only is it contrary to the equality of arms principle, but it also weakens the defense by means of concealing the evidence to be used against them, much like a system of inquisition. Those who would like to read the draft law can find it at this website: http:www2.

tbmmgov.trd2422-2282.

pdfIn my opinion, the legal approach of ErdoIan and the AKP reflects their fears, both in terms of claims of their corruption as well indictments of their human rights practices. As it appears that Turkey is turning into a medieval state, I would like to recall the words of Charles de Montesquieu: “There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.

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SOURCE: Today’s Zaman