PM Erdogan: Turkish gov't working to abolish special courts

Photo: PM Erdogan: Turkish gov't working to abolish special courts / Turkey

Turkish PM, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the government plans to abolish the widely criticized special courts in the country Anadolu News Agency reported.

Erdogan briefed the press on developments on a wide array of issues prior to his official visit to Iran.

"We are absolutely determined to abolish these courts" he said.

Turkey's parliament has already outlawed the special courts on July 5, 2012. However, the courts continue to operate after the resolution due to a condtion attached to the bill that they finish hearing cases already open. These courts were set up mostly to handle the cases of coups d'etat that have dogged Turkish political history for decades.

With regards to the recent fluctuation in currencies and a possible Central Bank intervention, the prime minister said that he was opposed to an interest rate hike.

"I am against the interest rate hike, as I was before, but I do not have the authority to intervene in the Central Bank decisions," he said.

Asked about the prospects of the Geneva II peace conference, Erdogan said it was not easy to forecast what would come out of it.

"The stance of Russia and Iran are critical to the outcome of Geneva II, and we will discuss this issue during my visit," he said.

Erdogan added that Turkey had taken the humanitarian crisis in Yarmouk refugee camp to the UN Security Council, but was faced with a veto.

On Turkey-Iran relations, Erdogan said that a high-level cooperation council with Iran has been formed and it would be a new stimulus for bilateral relations.

Turkey will continue to foster dialogue between Iran and the international community in a bid to remove the sanctions imposed by the EU and U.S, Erdogan said.

The Prime Minister said that Turkey hoped that the process on Iran's nuclear program, which resulted in an agreement last November, would evolve into a comprehensive deal to lift the sanctions.

"Turkey has shown maximum effort for this and will continue to foster dialogue between the relevant sides," Erdogan said.

Iran and world powers reached an agreement on November 24 that asked Iran to roll back its nuclear program in return for a mild easing of sanctions, which are taking a toll on its economy.

The temporary six-month agreement, requires Iran to stop enriching uranium beyond five percent during, eliminate its stock enriched beyond this mark, and open its nuclear sites to broader inspection.

Turkey, which currently imports 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Iran, has been effected by the sanctions, an issue that Erdogan plans to raise on his visit.

Since Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani was elected in 2013, the countries' Foreign Ministers have maintained close contact.

Rouhani is also expected to visit Turkey in the near future, Erdogan added.

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