As the Unconditional Justice Movement, we focused this week on the Independence of the Judiciary and the Expulsion and Arrest of Judges-Prosecutors.
- One of the cornerstones of the management system is the Separation of Powers. In other words, Separation of Powers refers to the organization of the powers that use the political power of the state, in the form of legislative, executive, and judicial, independent from each other and in such a way that they control each other and stop them when necessary. The current state of this management method, which emerged in ancient times and has developed until today, is attributed to the political science thinker Baron de Montesquieu.
- Undoubtedly, the Judiciary will act as the best brake mechanism against other powers that have become overpowered. Judiciary refers to the fulfillment of duties by courts independent of the legislative and executive organs. The independence of the judges aims to pass judgment in accordance with the Constitution and the law, confidently and courageously according to their conscience, without being dependent on the legislative and executive organs. The independence and impartiality of the Judiciary mean the independence and impartiality of judges. How independent is the Judiciary due to the judges and prosecutors working in Turkey?
- According to The World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2019 data, the ranking of Turkey among 126 countries is as follows:
-Rule of Law 126/109
-Limiting the Power of the Government 126/123
-Fundamental Rights 126/122
-Citizen’s Access to Justice 126/96
-Implementation of Legal and Administrative Regulations 126/106
- According to these data, Turkey is behind countries such as Russia, Iran, and Nigeria, just above countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although Turkey’s data for previous years are not very encouraging, the regression after 2016 can be visibly noticed. Undoubtedly, 15 July 2016 is one of the turning points for the independence of the judiciary, separation of powers, and democracy for the history of the Republic of Turkey. Right after the coup attempt, around 3,000 judges/prosecutors, two of them were members of the Constitutional Court, and more than 160 of whom were members of the Court of Cassation or the Council of State, were suspended before sunrise and even before the soldiers who participated in the coup attempt were taken into custody. Subsequently, these people were detained and arrested at the same time. In the following period, despite the “Judge and Prosecutor’s Office Guarantee” regulated in Article 139 of the Constitution and the explicit provision that they cannot be dismissed unless a verdict is given, approximately 5,000 judges and prosecutors were dismissed without even taking their defenses, and 8,000 new judges and prosecutors were appointed instead.
- ‘Article 139 of the Constitution: Judges and prosecutors cannot be dismissed, they cannot retire before the age indicated in the Constitution unless they want to; Even if a court or a staff is abolished, they cannot be deprived of their salary, allowance and other personal rights.’
As the Unconditional Justice Movement, we invite everyone who is sensitive to take action for a Turkey where the Judiciary is independent and impartial, democratic values are internalized, and therefore the law is superior, not the superiors.