PM Erdoğan: Judiciary no longer trustworthy

PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

June 19, 2010, Saturday/ 17:05:00
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reacted strongly to a compensation ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of Appeals to certain judges at separate high criminal courts for not ruling for the release of Başkent University Rector Mehmet Haberal, saying there could only be an ideological reason behind such a ruling.

The nine judges were ordered to pay TL 1,500 each last week in compensation to Haberal, who is currently jailed as a suspected member of the clandestine coup-plotting group Ergenekon. Speaking at his Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) Expanded Provincial Leaders Convention, Erdoğan said, “On what legal basis or provision are you taking such a step?” addressing the members of the Supreme Court of Appeals 4th Chamber who made the ruling.

He said the judiciary had lost all its trustworthiness because of this decision.

The chamber said in its ruling that the judges were not fair in their decisions to reject appeals to release the rector from prison.

He expressed his reaction to the ruling, saying: “Many a dubious relationship has been exposed as part of the struggle against gangs. We will expose the dirty games of this terrorist organization and make them answer within the rule of law on behalf of our nation.” He said the decision was very problematic in terms of legal principles and that the high court did not have the right to make such a ruling when the lower court had not yet made a ruling about the defendant, adding that this was a violation of the Constitution. He also said this would set a new precedent and that everyone arrested under the investigation will be filing complaints against the judges who refuse to release them. The ruling had no basis in law, he said, adding that it had been made inside the supreme court’s own “private world.”

PKK terrorism

Erdoğan also spoke about the escalation in violence by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in his speech. He appealed to the mothers of the terrorists, saying: “I would like to remind those mothers whose hearts are aching because their children took up arms. Their children were deceived and are being used by warlords, by centers of evil. Those kids are sent to places not only to kill, but also to die.” He called on the mothers to take their sons and daughters by the hand and pull them out of “this bloody game.”

Erdoğan said: “I have said this many times in the past few days. The terrorist organization has shown yet again that it is part of a bloody and dirty game by shedding blood and committing murder. … The timing of its recent attacks is also very interesting, and should be carefully analyzed.”

He said the recent increase in terrorist attacks indicated that the PKK had been given a new “tender” by some unscrupulous center, as was usual. “We are clearly seeing that the terrorist organization, as it has in the past, has gotten into shady games again. It has won a new tender, and currently it is carrying out the necessities of that.”

He said for 30 years the terrorist organization has played a part in manipulative schemes. “It will be better understood what games are being played today if one looks at past eras. It will become clearer what the real intentions are. Take a look at those times when Turkey started taking steps toward peace and stability, when Turkey’s economy made strides and those times when it has launched initiatives for democratization, when the chronic problems of our country were being dealt with.” Erdoğan also denied comments that the government had given up on the initiative. “The initiative is not over. We are continuing our struggle with the same determination in terms of the judiciary, the executive and the legislature.”

PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke at his party’s Expanded Provincial Leaders Convention, where he criticized a compensation ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of Appeals to certain judges at various high criminal courts.

He warned the nation against the perception of seeing an individual from the mainly Kurdish Southeast or East as a potential criminal, saying this would be falling prey to the trap of terrorism. He called on the nation to embrace one another. “Come, let’s establish a bright future all together against the enemy,” he said.

Erdoğan also said Parliament will not go into recess until a law is passed that will stop the practice of Kurdish children being tried as adults under the country’s anti-terrorism laws when caught throwing stones at the police in demonstrations.

The prime minister also responded to the critics of the government’s Kurdish initiative, saying the steps towards democratization taken under that project were not the cause of terror. “What was it in the past? We lost nearly 5,000 martyrs a year. Was there a national unity and brotherhood project in the works then?” He said to the contrary, a lack of democratic rights had caused terror to escalate to a peak. He said the critics were exploiting terrorism for their personal gain, and that’s why they were criticizing the government’s initiative, to undermine it.

Dark centers of power

Erdoğan said his government would not bow before the propaganda and smear campaigns against Turkey that are being waged both from within Turkey and by other countries. “Questionable centers of power will no longer give shape to domestic and foreign policy. My country’s course will not be set by newspaper headlines or television screens that do not reflect the sensitivity of my nation. Everyone should know this as such. Terrorists organizations will not decide my country’s destiny.”

He said with the AK Party government, the nation was the only decider of the country’s direction. He said the AK Party was not pursuing marginal policies that were too harsh or too soft, but moving on along the middle of the road.

Economic crisis and Turkey

Erdoğan also talked about the economy. He said he had stated that the global economic crisis that was devastating to most world economies and which started in September 2008 would only touch Turkey slightly and pass without any real effects and that time had proven him right. “Remember, all the doom-mongers thought this was their opportunity to bring down the AK Party. They made fun of us when we said it would only touch us and pass. But now they have all admitted that it has only touched and passed at a tangent. Now they are seriously embarrassed. They wrote scenarios of catastrophe, they tried their best to dampen the spirits of investors, entrepreneurs and producers. They even lobbied outside the country. They tried to stop foreign investors. They said ‘Nothing is certain, this government has to go’.”

He said even in the recent tension with Israel, some columnists were suggesting that the AK Party has to go for the two countries’ relations to be repaired. Erdoğan said, “They are so daring as to say this openly without reservation on television channels.” He said the prime minister of the country is not such a “weakling” as to swallow all these words. Addressing these columnists, he said: “We don’t care from which media boss or baron you derive your power. We take our power from the people and from God. This is the difference between us.”

Erdoğan said at the moment the effects of the crisis were still continuing in the US and Europe. “We have left the crisis behind to a large extent,” he said. Recalling that rating agencies had lowered some European countries’ grades by four points, Erdoğan said: “The Japanese prime minister said the country would go bankrupt if they failed to reduce their debt burden. Despite this general picture, Turkey is continuing to grow at a fast rate. Its credit ratings are increasing, its budget deficit narrowing and its production and exports are rising rapidly.” He said unemployment figures for March were also auspicious; the unemployment rate has gone down by 2.1 percentage points to 13.7 percent from 15.8 percent in a year, whereas joblessness is rising rapidly in Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Hungary, the US and the EU. He also pointed to increases in Turkey’s export volume in the past year, adding that the government had paid much of Turkey’s debt left over from the previous government back to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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