Does Turkey need ju­di­cial re­form?

Dünya Executive - - POLITICS - HURRIYET SEPTEM­BER 26 YUSUF KANLI

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.

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