Turkish President Signed Controversial Law On Selection Of Judges And Prosecutors

In a speedy fashion President Abdullah Gul signed into law the controversial changes to the selection of judges and prosecutors that AKP legislated in a rushed late night session of the parliament on Saturday, strengthening the opposition's claims that the president rubberstamps AKP legislations without taking time to evaluate them.

The new law is published in today’s Official Gazette and took effect as of today. According to the new law the final selection of judges and prosecutors will be determined at an interview held by ministry of justice appointed bureaucrats, after all the candidates are given a written examination.Physical appearance is among the criteria that the interviewing board will take into consideration.

The changes will also allow attorneys with five years experience to take the bench, as well as candidates who have not studied law. Candidates that hold a doctorate degree from law will be exempt from the written examination and they will be selected only on the basis of the interview by AKP bureaucrats.


AKP’s rush was to beat the deadline of December 5, set by the High Administrative Court (Danistay) that decided that recent judicial appointments made by AKP were unlawful and should be changed within 30 days (ending on December 5, 2007). With the new legislation those appointments are now validated.

Source: CNNTurk, Turkey, December 4, 2007


President Gul’s Rush To Approve Controversial Law On Judiciary Criticized

AKP’s controversial law on the appointment of judges and prosecutors that was legislated in early morning hours of Saturday was sent to the presidency on Monday when Pres. Gul was in Pakistan. Gul upon his return late that night, signed the bill at 1:40 AM despite strong opposition by both political parties and nongovernmental organizations.The new law politicizes top judiciary appointments.

Omer Faruk Eminagaoglu, the head of the Union of the Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV) had released a written statement on Monday asking President Gul to not sign the bill and return it to the parliament. He said that the president has to be on the side of the rule of law.

Opposition parties were very critical of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and accused the AKP of staging “a civil coup” through this law, aimed at capturing the judiciary. According to the CHP's officials, the AKP will appoint around 5,000 judges and prosecutors in the near future through interviews. This number is slightly higher than half of Turkey's total judges and prosecutors, according to the CHP's sources.

Source: Hurriyet, Turkish Daily News, Turkey, December 4, 2007


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