The government is reported to be planning a revision of Article 250 of the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK), which gives special authority to courts and prosecutors when investigating organized crime and coup plots. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said last month that no revision was planned regarding Articles 250, 251 or 252 of the CMK within a judicial package the government hopes to pass. However, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said one day after his deputy spoke that these courts may be totally abolished.
Hürriyet reported on Wednesday that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) once again discussed the issue during a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting on Tuesday. The daily said that on Prime Minister Erdoğan's orders the board has decided to include the CMK amendments in the judicial package.
According to the planned changes, Hürriyet said, specially authorized courts will be abolished and replaced with “terrorism courts” which will hear ongoing terrorism and coup-related cases. The daily added that an intra-party commission chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has already begun working on the amendments to the CMK and that the proposed changes are expected to be completed this weekend.
The government has also reportedly discussed its intentions with the opposition and received support for passing the package before July. Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, a staunch critic of special courts, publicly voiced this support for the government's move on Wednesday and said these courts should be abolished.
Article 250 of the CMK gives civilian prosecutors the power to investigate military personnel accused of crimes that threaten national security, violate the Constitution or attempt to topple the government during peacetime. Some of the most important cases undertaken by specially authorized courts are the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) trial and the Ergenekon trial, in which suspects are accused of attempting to overthrow the government, in addition to a case against the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), in which suspects are accused of being involved in terrorism.
In an earlier interview, Erdoğan pledged that if an amendment was made to the article it would not weaken the hand of Turkey in its fight against coups and coup plotters.