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    Turkey's top judge blasts gov't, media over judiciary independence

    Hurriyet Daily New
    24.04.2009 - 16:24 | Son Güncelleme:

    ANKARA – Head of the Constitutional Court Hasim Kilic yesterday harshly criticized the intervention of media and politics in the judiciary process, in a clear reference to the ongoing Ergenekon case.

    “In each important case, the judiciary is besieged by political views. Judges of the media and the world of politics conclude the case even before the judges of the court,” Kilic said, speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Constitutional Court’s new building. The court celebrated the 47th year of its establishment Friday.


    “Peoples honor is harmed when they are pronounced guilty without a court’s decision. This is a crime against humanity,” Kilic maintained. Referring to the 138th article of the constitution, Kilic said that no one and no institution has the right to instruct or advise judges about the use of judicial power. “However, efforts to affect and manipulate the judiciary still continue,” he said.


    Underlining the importance of judicial independency, Kilic said a strong and neutral judiciary is the guarantee of a democratic, secularist and social state. “Since the task of protecting the rights and freedoms, namely human dignity, is assigned to the judiciary, this can only be maintained through the impartiality of a judge,” Kilic stressed.


    Kilic also touched upon the issue of secularism during his address. “Unless problems related to freedom of faith are solved, it seems inevitable that politics will derive benefit fromreligion,” Kilic said, reminding the constitutional obligation that the state has to have equal distance to beliefs and disbeliefs.


    “Government bodies can not cause discrimination by announcing a segment of the public as their friend, while denouncing the rest as an enemy,” Kilic underlined.


    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also delivered a speech at the ceremony and drew attention to the demands for constitutional amendments. “Our improvements in basic areas like social progress, democratization and human rights have inevitably caused a need for constitutional amendments. This is the situation which Turkey experiences today,” Erdogan said. “This constitution does not meet the demands of today,” he stated, hinting that the government will seek consensus with opposition parties to amend the constitution.


    He maintained that every kind of evaluation over the constitutional amendments should be discussed in a free and constructive atmosphere.


    President Abdullah Gul issued a written message to commemorate the 47th year of the Constitutional Court. He pointed to the role of the Constitutional Court in terms of developing the judicial system, and improving democracy and human rights.



    Meanwhile, head of the Supreme Court of Appeals Hasan Gerceker said the court is against the constitutional amendments during a banquet held in honor of the April 23 anniversary.


    “We are against a change in the structure of the Constitutional Court and the Parliament’s appointing the court members. We think that these are amendments will harm the judicial independence,” he said.


    Gerceker also opposed the amendment in relation to individual appeals to the Constitutional Court. “As Supreme Courts, we do not support it. Because another supreme court, which is superior to current supreme courts, will be established and the system will completely collapse,” he said.


    Gerceker stated that he met with Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin over the issue and expressed their opposition. “This is not only the view of the Supreme Court of Appeals. The Council of State, Military Court of Appeals and Supreme Military Administrative Court also share our views.”













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