April 28, 2015

Justice pending!

Erhan Başyurt

Political interventions to the judiciary are creating chaos which is getting worse by the day.

In the process leading up to December 25, they were instructing the police “not to execute prosecutorial orders,” and now, on April 25, they instruct the prosecutors “not to execute court orders.”

The “neutrality and independence” of the judges are practically suspended; the “legal guaranty of judges,” which is a sine qua non of the law, is virtually destroyed.

Justice is the foundation of the state; interventions to the judiciary will undermine that foundation.

There is no way that a lawless country can enjoy any freedom or economic well-being…


The latest chain of scandals, which caused a total loss of faith in the judiciary, is a perfect summary of how the law is destroyed.

On April 24, the 29th Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the demand for “recusation,” which was about the criminal judgeships of peace.

“Recusation” demands concerning criminal judgeships of peace is the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court of First Instance, as clearly stated by the Criminal Procedure Code (CMK).

There are new precedents.

Moreover, Istanbul Third Criminal Judge of Peace İslam Çiçek, in his decision dated 19 January 2015, stated that, “According to 26th and following articles of the CMK, recusation demands have to be considered by courts, not criminal judgeships of peace.”

The 29th Criminal Court of First Instance’s historic ruling establishes – with proofs – that Criminal Judgeships of Peace, also known as “project courts,” are not “neutral and independent” and are against the “natural judge principle.”

Taking into consideration the lawyers’ demand for “recusation and release,” the court referred the file to the 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance, which was assigned as night court by the Istanbul Justice Committee, for review.

The criminal judges of peace did not object to the April 24 ruling, which was “final.”

The following day, the 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance decided the continuation of detention was wrong, and sent the ruling for the release of the 63 detained suspects to the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

This is where the “murder of the law” starts.


Although it was Saturday night, two inspectors from the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu came to Çağlayan Courthouse.

They came up with a scandalous formula to evade the execution of the court rulings that were supposed to be final.

Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu issued a press release at 2 am, stating that the “court rulings were void.”

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office applied to the Tenth Criminal Judgeship of Peace, which was “invalidated” by the recusation ruling, and objected to the decision of the Criminal Court of First Instance.

The Tenth Criminal Judge of Peace decided that the “release ruling by the 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance was invalid and void.”

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office stated it would execute the criminal judge of peace’s decision instead of the higher court’s, and withheld the ruling for release.

And without execution, it returned the release warrants to the 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance.


However, the court ruling is final; the Chief Prosecutor’s Office has no power to disregard it. Legally, it has to execute the ruling without delay.

If there is a belief that the decision is mistaken, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office or the criminal judges of peace should take their objections to an even higher court.

If that court finds error in the decision of the Criminal Court of First Instance, they may demand re-arrest.

Since the release decision has been made, the 63 detained suspects are “hostages,” because they are denied their freedom.


A second aspect of the chain of scandals is, as always, the politicians and their proponents.

Like their efforts to frustrate the December 25 graft probe, they declared the judges’ April 25 rulings as a “judicial coup,” they condemned the judges as “assassins” and “pro-parallel.”

Accusingly, they fabricated news that the judges received “instructions” through “prayers.”

The HSYK, which has been criticized for “being politically motivated and acting to further the interests of the ruling party,” also stepped in immediately.

Shortly after the President’s statement, “It was about time!” the HSYK suspended both judges – the 29th Criminal Court of First Instance judge who ruled on the demand for recusation and the 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance judge who decided to release them – from office.

This was another confirmation that in Turkey there is no “legal guaranty of judges” anymore, and that the judiciary has lost its independence to political pressures.


However, it turned out that just before their suspension, the judges of the 29th and 32nd Criminal Courts of First Instance filed a criminal complaint about those who avoided the execution of recusation and release rulings.

Upon application by the lawyers, the 29th Criminal Court of First Instance ruled that the Tenth Criminal Judgeship of Peace’s decision, which the Chief Prosecutor’s Office gave as a justification to withhold the releases, was “void.”

The ruling stressed that, “According to the CMK, the only higher authority to reverse final court decisions is the Penal Department of the Supreme Court; the Tenth Criminal Judgeship of Peace has no power to review and reverse our court rulings.”

In line with that decision, criminal complaints were filed against the Tenth Criminal Judge of Peace and Istanbul Chief Prosecutor, who both blocked the execution of release rulings. The HSYK was also informed of the complaints.

In reply to the “return letter on the release warrants,” the 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance stated the court ruling was final, and warned the Chief Prosecutor’s Office that the non-execution of the release rulings amounted to a limitation of freedoms, and hence was an offense.

The decision read: “Our court’s release rulings are in compliance with the procedure code; it is final and not subject to objection; the rulings should have been implemented without delay. Another criminal court of peace’s decision to review and reverse our ruling is against procedural law.”

The same decision underlined the fact that prosecutorial non-execution of the release rulings was a violation of the “rights to freedom and security” as set by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Still, the courts’ warnings were ignored and their second rulings were also disregarded.

The prosecutor of execution, as if mocking the court, returned the release ruling for a second time.

What are judges for if court rulings are not going to be executed?

Prosecutors both make claims and decide to detain them…

And on top of that, they disregard the court decisions they don’t like… Is this how justice works?

The destruction and politicization of justice does not just lead to the devastation of individual rights, but it also undermines the foundations of the “state”; and they are either unaware of it, or they don’t care…

In the 16 months from December 25 to April 25, just look at the wretchedness of the law and the abyss to which the country has been dragged!

Published on BGNNews, 28 April 2015, Tuesday