Oktay Kuban, a judge at the 12th High Criminal Court who last week released 19 suspects in the Sledgehammer investigation including former Gen. Çetin Doğan, raised concerns about the independence and neutrality of the judiciary in Turkey.
I believe only a very limited number of people will say ?no? to the question of whether ?constitutional reform is needed in Turkey?? My conviction is based on the statements of political party leaders and other influential party figures, declarations by civil society organizations and public surveys mentioned in newspapers.
The Constitution in force in Turkey was drawn up by the military, which seized power in 1980, and approved by the people in a referendum following a campaign in which it was not allowed to speak out against it.
Turkey is once again in the midst of a major constitutional debate. As usual, the political and electoral stakes are high. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) and proponents of the newly proposed set of constitutional changes argue that these reforms would promote democracy and bolster Ankara?s bid for membership in the European Union.
The Republican People?s Party (CHP), which has thus far left its mark on many anti-democratic actions in the country, is planning to get the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government?s constitutional reform package cancelled by challenging it at the Constitutional Court.
The old guard has been flocking to Sabih Kanadoğlu?s constitutional amendment annulment camp. Kanadoğlu, the honorary president of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the mastermind behind the 367 scandal, has been advising the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition that the constitutional amendment will be annulled by the Constitutional Court in any case and it could happen at any phase of the amendment process.
[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News] Well, of course, there is no literal “fascism award” in Turkey. But the one recently given to one of the country’s top judges well deserves to be described as such. I am speaking about the “Mahmut Esat Bozkurt Award” that the Istanbul Bar Association gave last week to Kadri Ã?zbek, the deputy chairman of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). Both the Bar Association and the HSYK are die-hard Kemalist institutions; therefore it was perfectly normal that one flattered the other. But the persona after which this award was named, Mahmut Esat Bozkurt, was a little odd. Non-Turks as slaves The late Mr. Bozkurt was the long-time justice minister of the early Turkish Republic. But he was also a leading ideologue of the Kemalist “single party regime.” Actually he coined the very term “Kemalism” in 1932, and articulated some of its core ideas. In one instance, in a public speech in 1930, he was particularly articulate: “It is my firm opinion…