Indeed, the proposed amendments have not been sufficiently discussed. The impression is that the bill in question has not been duly debated by the Cabinet. Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who is claimed to be conducting the preparations for this bill, gave some explanation on Wednesday, stressing that he was speaking “as far as he knows.” When asked about the changes, government spokesperson and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said: “It is very unlikely that these rumors are correct. Yet, we all need to pay attention to the third package of judicial reforms on Saturday. I don’t know the current state of the ongoing work ordered by the prime minister. You can get a better answer if you ask the justice minister.” The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) may readily lend support to these changes as it promised to abolish the specially authorized courts during its election rallies.
But the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) secured its overwhelming share of the vote with opposite promises. Would the representatives of the ruling party be able to advocate these changes at election rallies if we were to return back to the run-up to the June 12 election? The things political parties say in their election rallies are their promises to the electorate, and they can employ the mandate given to them only if they stick to these promises.
As for the heart of the matter, no one who ever uses the state power is free from the errors of mortals. Judges and prosecutors, too, may err. The system offers remedies for these errors and provides for their inspection. If there are deficiencies, these can be eliminated. The administrative supervision mechanisms such as the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and appeal authorities exist for this purpose.
As everyone knows, there are many members of the judiciary who were tried and jailed on charges of collaborating with organized crime networks. No administrative inspection decision has been passed against specially authorized judges or prosecutors. As the cases dealt with by these courts are still under way, we don’t know how their judgments will be treated at the internal judicial review processes.
Yet, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which can be considered as the highest appeal organ in the chain, has repeatedly declined applications raising objections to these courts. There are not convincing excuses for creating scapegoats out of judicial members working in specially authorized courts by eventually abolishing them.
While there is the option to penalize individual cases of alleged errors made by these courts, it is impossible to offer a satisfactory explanation for complete abolition of these courts.
The question lingers: What will happen to the crimes committed in an organized manner and over a vast area which were being death with by these courts? The specially authorized courts have a record of many successes including combating the snatching gangs that haunted İstanbul, the corruption networks that were stealing away the earnings of the nation and, more importantly, the juntas. Apart from the injustice of writing off this record in one move, will this struggle be effectively maintained?
The AK Party, as a party made its appearance in election rallies as a “party that defied juntas,” is ignoring the possibility of its facing the accusation of being a “party that saved the juntas from litigation” in the rallies for the next election. We hereby note this fact for the record, believing that we have a responsibility to do so and we are using our democratic rights in doing so. The rest is, “Whatever God ordains will be a beautiful act.”