Opposition, pundits say meddling in judiciary violates constitution

December 26, 2013, Thursday/ 19:03:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Following a statement by prosecutor Muammer Akkaş on Thursday in which he accused the government of preventing prosecutors from launching a second corruption investigation, jurists have harshly criticized the government for interfering with the judiciary, which represents a blatant violation of the separation of powers in a democracy.

“It's evident that the prosecutor is facing interference that prevents him from performing his duty. This is a blatant case of interference in the judiciary,” Hikmet Sami Türk, a former minister of justice, told Today's Zaman.

Underlining that this is a serious case of interfering with the judiciary, Türk said: “The prosecutor must not be prevented from conducting an investigation to uncover a crime with its evidence, nor from drawing up an indictment should he identifies a crime. Preventing a prosecutor from doing so is both against the laws and Article 138 of the Constitution.”

Engin Altay, parliamentary group deputy chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP), sees the interference into the prosecutor's work as an act against the constitution. “This is a blatant violation of the constitution. This terrible violation is the same as eliminating the constitution,” Altay commented to Today's Zaman.

Noting that violation of the principle of separation of powers in a parliamentary democracy would mean the transformation of the political system into an oligarchic dictatorship, Altay called on the president to intervene so that the judiciary can function independently.

Underlining that the main duty of the president is to make sure that the various parts of the state apparatus function in harmony, Altay said: “I call on the president to ensure that the judiciary can do its duty.”

According to Faruk Bal, deputy chair of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), such a move on the part of the government is an attempt to put an end to the rule of law in Turkey. “The principle of separation of powers is being eliminated,” Bal told Today's Zaman. “This represents an end of the rule of law and the elimination of the independence of the judiciary,” he added.

Bal, who called on the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) to take measures as prescribed in the legislation against those who attempt to interfere with the judiciary, described the attempt as a blow to judicial independence. “There can be no [valid] explanation for not implementing the instructions of the prosecutor. Instead of carrying out the prosecutor's instructions, the file is being taken away from the prosecutor,” Bal commented. 

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