We have previously expressed our criticism and concerns about the travel of the presidents of “higher” judicial bodies abroad with the President contrary to their constitutional position, independence, impartiality and respectability of the institutions they represent.
Unfortunately, developments and statements justify our concerns.
Announcing that “Judicial bodies and institutions in the Republic of Turkey are also dependent on the Presidency”, government spokesman summarized his “longing” for the judiciary. This might be the position of the judiciary in the spokesman’s “mind” and “imagination”. However, if he would like to see the actual position of the judiciary, he should see Articles 6, 9, 11 and 138 of the Constitution. According to these provisions, judiciary shall not be “dependent” on anybody, but is totally independent, and [the judicial power] shall give judgment in accordance with the Constitution, laws, and their personal conviction conforming with the law on behalf of the Turkish Nation. No organ, authority, office or individual may give orders or instructions to courts or judges relating to the exercise of judicial power, send them circulars, or make recommendations or suggestions.
How “democratic” the “New Charter”, frequently voiced by the current political power, would be, and how “independent” and “impartial” the judiciary within this Constitution would be is made clear once again by the above-mentioned statements of the government spokesman. Besides this statement, the spokesman said “The members and presidents in the judiciary shall attend the meeting at any time upon the call of the President”, which is an “imperative” statement that defames and derides the judicary as a whole. Our expectation is that the judicial community and the members of the judiciary would respond, as needed, to this statement. As Istanbul Bar Association, we wonder about the opinions of the presidents in “higher judicial bodies”, especially that of the President of the Supreme Court concerning this “laconic” statement and attitude of the government spokesman.
On the other hand, we would like to remind the President of the Supreme Court, who made a written statement, that it is the attitude and discourse of the President of the Supreme Court, per se, which actually corrodes the judiciary. Needless to say, he has the right to resort to legal action. However, the way to preserve the respectability of the judiciary is to display attitudes and manners proper to the respectability of the judiciary and to fulfill the requirements of his constitutional position. It should be noted that as Istanbul Bar Association, we will continue with determination to discharge our duty to warn against and criticize all sorts of attitudes and manners that are contrary to the Constitution, laws, independence and impartiality of the judiciary, separation of powers and the respectability of the judiciary. Nothing can withold us from discharging this duty of us.
Last but not least, we would like to emphasize that we WILL NEVER GET USED TO the breach of the Constitution, law and the separation of powers. However, you WILL GET USED TO respect and comply with the Constitution and law, to stay within the limits of your constitutional authority and to adopt the independence and control of the judiciary if not today then tomorrow, sooner or later.
PRESIDENCY OF ISTANBUL BAR ASSOCIATION