The Turkish deputy prime minister has allayed growing concerns regarding a law that regulates special courts and prosecutors, which were key in prosecuting coup attempts, underlining that no revision is planned in this regard as part of a government plan to overhaul the Turkish criminal code.
A plan by the Justice Ministry to revise Article 250 of the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK), which gives special authority to courts and prosecutors when investigating organized crime and coup plots, has raised concerns among Turkey's jurists about the future of the ongoing Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup cases.
The government earlier said the ministry is working on four judicial packages, including an amendment to Article 250, without elaborating what the amendment entails. If the amendment indeed aims to divest civilian prosecutors of their authority to investigate crimes committed against the constitutional order, then, jurists believe, such a move could impede the ongoing coup cases.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told reporters following meeting of Cabinet ministers on Monday that the government has opened the fourth judicial reform package up to signatures and that there have been suggestions and recommendations made during the course of the amendment process.
Noting that the government is planning to raise the standard for human rights and avert rulings made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Arınç categorically rejected claims that there are planned revisions for special courts and Article 250 of the CMK.
Arınç declined to further elaborate on the details of discussions regarding the fourth reform package, adding that there is no revision planned regarding the Articles 250, 251 and 252 which all concern special courts.
Arınç said the mentioned articles had never been included in the three previous judicial reform packages and that they won't be included in the fourth package, neither as bills nor drafts. He further said the media only started discussing this development after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other state ministers expressed, what he called, “their personal opinions” on this.
“There is no draft or bill that will amend, limit or is related to Articles 250, 251 and 252 in the fourth judicial reform package,” Arınç added.