Turkey’s judicial roundabout being used to play politics - columnist

The Turkish judiciary is malfunctioning and being used to play politics, veteran columnist Taha Akyol wrote in Hürriyet newspaper.

Akyol pointed to the case of a representative of Doğan Holding, the company that owns Hürriyet and has a significant share of Turkey’s media market. Doğan Holding has recently come under sustained criticism from the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Doğan’s Ankara representative Barbaros Muratoğlu was sentenced to five years in jail on charges of involvement with the Gülen movement, a religious sect the Turkish government believes was responsible for last year’s failed coup. Muratoğlu’s five-year prison sentence was first reduced to one year and eight months before he was found innocent on appeal.

The appeals court, Akyol said, ruled that “it was impossible to evaluate” the evidence provided by the prosecution “as constituting a crime”.

By that time, however, the pro-government media had spent days publicising the case, claiming that it proved a relationship between Doğan Holding and the Gülen movement.

“Politics and justice should not have this much impact on one another, should they?” Akyol asked.

Akyol also pointed out how even court cases in higher courts had had their judges changed on a regular basis, and how new judges, fresh from their first internships, were being appointed immediately to high-ranking positions.

“Is there a worse sin than injustice?” he asked.