Turkish Justice Ministry: Bill no threat to courts
Turkey's Justice Ministry said Tuesday that a government-backed 'reform' bill overhauling the judicial system does not constitute an outside interference with the independence of courts Anadolu Agency reported
The statement comes just a day after the chief judge of Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals, Ali Alkan, criticized the bill in a written statement, saying that it would damage independence of the judiciary.
"To legislate, to change or revoke a law is part of the powers and duties of the Turkish parliament. Parliament legislation does not constitute interference, neither with the judiciary nor with the executive arms of the state. The executive and judicial powers are obliged to abide by and to apply the laws made by the Turkish parliament," the ministry said in a statement.
Supreme Court President Ali Alkan had said the new legislation was against the country's constitution.
"The changes in the judicial package are not based on the Supreme Court's wishes, and will damage the independence of the judiciary," Alkan said Monday.
But the Justice Ministry insisted that no such interference is possible.
The duties of the president of the Supreme Court of Appeals are limited to interpreting and applying legislation, the statement said.
"The Supreme Court president's personal statement is a clear confession of distrust based on prejudice against the current and the would-be Supreme Court members as well as against the will of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors," the statement added.
The government-backed bill introduced on Oct. 21 aims to give more power to law-enforcement officials, including police and prosecutors.
Turkish police would also get enhanced powers to detain suspects for questioning without charge.
The proposed changes were announced days after violent riots left 38 people dead and caused widespread damage in Turkey in October. The government said that the protests were organized by sympathizers of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which is listed by Turkey as well as by the U.S. and EU as a terrorist group.