Does Turkey need judicial reform?
The so-called “Turkish model” proved to be problematic particularly because of the deletion of the “impartiality” clause of the President in the Constitution and the very strong political personality occupying the seat of the President at the moment. Would it be the same if there was a more democracy-committed personality in the presidential seat? That’s a hypothetical question, but with such powers, even the most democratic person might be affected. Presidential governance might be a precious chance for Turkey to move ahead and develop while providing incredible cohesion and stability, rather than an arbitrariness enshrined from the top-down; key would adding a proper checks-and-balances system and replacing the perennially failing judicial system with a working one. As a top judge recently admitted, the nation has no confidence in many organs of the state. The worst is the situation of the lower and upper courts. Turkey is currently discussing how to reform its judicial system. Do we need judicial reform? Obviously. But if the deficiency in the independence of Turkish justice system is not singled out as the fundamental problem and after yet another reform, the Turkish justice system is to remain subservient to the ideology in power, I am sorry to say that the problem will remain. In time past, Kemalist ideology was dominant; all opponents were banished. In times recently past, it was FETÖ. Thus, the systematic problem of Turkey is, of course, political and constitutional but more so, perceptional. If the perception of democracy is “my democracy” or if the perception of justice is “my justice,” then how democracy or justice performs in a country largely depends on who is in power. The problem is not systemic, either; it is an existential problem eroding all values and norms. Obviously, such a situation cannot be sustainable.