Proposal to abolish special courts in Turkey at Parliament

Photo: Proposal to abolish special courts in Turkey at Parliament / Turkey

Proposals to abolish specially authorized criminal courts and a submission to amend 22 laws was submitted to Parliamentary Speaker's Office on Thursday Nadolu Agency reproted

The proposal was announced by Turkish PM Erdogan two weeks ago and it was widely supported by the Turkish opposition parties, particularly Republican People Party (CHP) and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

The specially authorized courts have long been under fire for controversial cases, especially their handling of the high-profile investigations into the Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plots. A call from prosecutors to the head of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Hakan Fidan to testify about secret talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in February became a breaking point for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party on the issue.

These courts are tasked with prosecuting terrorism-related crimes and are considered to be a continuance of State Security Courts.

Some of the cases that they currently handle are Ergenekon and Balyoz coup plot cases and a 2011 football match-fixing case.

The State Security Courts were established in 1973 and were harshly criticized by the public as certain positions were occupied by military judges.

The military judges were removed from the court in 1999.

In 2004 as part of reforms undertaken within the scope of Turkey's candidacy for EU full membership, these courts were abolished following a constitutional amendment.

However, the authority of these courts was transferred to specially authorized criminal courts within an amendment Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK). Technically there is no difference between the specially authorized court and state security courts but in name only.

Turkey's parliament already outlawed the special courts on July 5, 2012. However, the courts continue to operate after the resolution as an exception to the bill which stipulated that any cases already open would be completed through the special court.

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Tags: AKP, Hakan Fidan, CHP, BDP