Ali Alkan, the president of the 13th Legal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, was elected Supreme Court of Appeals president on Monday following the retirement of Nazım Kaynak.
Alkan won in the first round of voting to elect a new head of the Supreme Court of Appeals, receiving a majority of the votes. He was followed by 5th Criminal Chamber President Ahmet Ceylani Tuğrul and 3rd Criminal Chamber President Kemalettin Yüksel.
Kaynak was elected president last year. The head of the Supreme Court of Appeals is elected to a four-year term; however, Kaynak had to step down this year due to the mandatory age of retirement.
At a news conference following his election, Alkan said his priority would be to accelerate the judicial process and reduce the workload of the court. “In your presence, I promise to work hand-in-hand with my friends without heeding any obstacles and without avoiding making any sacrifices to respond to the public’s expectations for fair trials,” he said.
The court’s president said one-year and three-year action plans will be prepared to address the court’s problems. Lengthy trials are a concern for many in the country. Nearly 2 million appeals await a final verdict at the Supreme Court of Appeals. In the four years between 2006 and 2010, the number of cases the Supreme Court of Appeals had to deal with nearly doubled. In just four years, the number of pending cases at the high court rose to 1,831,419 from 1,091,419 in 2006. About 20,000 cases were dismissed for exceeding the statute of limitations on the duration of a trial. This figure is expected to reach 55,000 in 2014 if no changes are made to the Supreme Court of Appeals’ structure. Alkan said he would do his best to ensure that human rights violations are prevented and the value given to human beings is reflected in the rulings of the Supreme Court of Appeals.
He also vowed to provide all kinds of support to Parliament in line with his commitment to the democratic state of law and supremacy of law for the preparation of a civilian and democratic constitution.
Born in the Kızılcahamam district of Ankara province in 1950, Alkan graduated from Ankara University’s School of Law in 1973. He has served as a judge in many provinces and was elected to serve as a member of the Supreme Court of Appeals in 1997.