Speaking to Today’s Zaman, the leaders of the Grand Unity Party (BBP), the Democrat Party (DP) and the Felicity Party (SP) say restricting the powers of specially authorized courts would be a great mistake. The leaders of the BBP and the SP claim the government is intentionally avoiding informing people about the amendment in order to avoid their reactions, while the DP leader says he does not understand why the government wants to change the specially authorized courts, which were created only seven years ago by the same government.
Stating that Turkey is going through a period in which junta members are being tried, BBP leader Mustafa Destici said, “Discussing or limiting the powers of the courts that have already received great prestige due to their previous work will be an attack targeting the national will.”
Destici stressed that he has difficulty in understanding people who prefer to create polarization via artificial agenda items and added, “In a country that struggles with terrorism, unemployment, poverty and corruption, the government and the opposition’s decision to create artificial agenda items is deplorable.” Underlining that none of these problems can be solved without solving the terrorism issue, settling account with coups and coup generals, eliminating organized criminal organizations and ensuring the rule of law, Destici stated that creating excuses to undermine the prestige of the judiciary is wrong. Destici defined the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) recent initiative for solving the terrorism issue as a positive step and called on all political parties to keep the doors open to dialogue. Stressing that they have been opposed to the amendment from the start, Destici noted that in such a critical period, any amendment that would negatively affect the ongoing Ergenekon and Sledgehammer cases would also discourage people from investigating the murder of Hrant Dink, the massacre at the Zirve Publishing House in Malatya and the suspicious death of former President Turgut Özal. “We need the specially authorized courts. However, their scope of duty should not be so broad. The thing that we need to do is restrict the specially authorized courts’ scope of duty to terrorism and organized crime. The government should redesign the courts’ scope of duty without restricting their power,” he said.
Felicity Party leader: They cannot explain this to the people
The SP, which appeals to the same constituent base as the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), indicated that the amendment will cause great disappointment in the nation. SP leader Mustafa Kamalak said: “The reason why the AK Party secured nearly 50 percent of the popular vote in the June 2011 elections was its promise to bring the coup perpetrators to trial. Amending Article 250 of the CMK shows that the real intention of the AK Party was not to settle the account with coups and coup generals. If the AK Party does this, people will withdraw their supports from the party as they want to settle accounts with the coups. This sense of being deceived will cause a great disappointment in the nation.”
Recalling that the first signals concerning the amendment had been given by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressing his discomfort with the fourth wave of operations in the investigation of the Feb. 28, 1997 coup, Kamalak stated: “All the economic, social and political problems of Turkey are the legacy of junta regimes. Because of the coups Turkey is not at the same level of development as Japan, France and Germany.”
DP leader Gültekin Uysal also pointed to the unusual situation in which the Office of the Prime Ministry rather than the Ministry of Justice was reportedly preparing the draft changes to the CMK, which is usually the case when it comes to judicial reforms. “It may be that there is a crack within the government, and the prime minister does not even trust his own minister on this issue. This is quite bizarre,” he added.
Uysal also accused Erdoğan of trying to grab all the power of the state for himself.