Turkish courts bear good news for former minister, judges dismissed by decree

A criminal complaint accusing a founding member and former minister of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of terror links has been rejected, Turkish secularist daily Cumhuriyet reported on Friday.

The same day also carried good news for members of the judiciary dismissed by decree, after a court ruling ruled in favour of their right to work as lawyers this week.

The news that the court has dismissed the complaint against former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan puts to rest fears that he had been targeted for legal reprisals after discussing plans to establish a new party.

One of Babacan’s former colleagues at the treasury accused him of collaborating with the Gülen religious movement, a secretive group that was once a close ally of the AKP but was later classed as a terrorist organisation after coming into conflict with the government. Ankara blames the movement for the July 2016 coup attempt.

The criminal complaint said Babacan had surrounded himself with Gülenists and accused the former minister of being responsible for Turkey’s current economic problems.

Meanwhile, an Ankara court ruled on Friday that candidate judges would be allowed to work as lawyers after being dismissed by emergency decree in the wake of the coup attempt, legal news site Hukuki Haber reported.

The AKP called a state of emergency days after the coup attempt, and for the following two years passed a series of emergency decrees that reshaped the countries institutions. The decrees included purges of tens of thousands of public workers in various state bodies.

The government said the purges were necessary to rid the state of Gülenists, though critics say the emergency powers were used to target critics.

Thousands in the judiciary were sacked in the purges. The mark dismissal by decree leaves on Turkish citizens' official records makes finding future employment extremely difficult, and dismissed candidate judges were rejected when they applied to be approved to work as lawyers.

However, a court in Ankara ruled in favour of one candidate who appealed against the decision to reject his application, and can now be licenced to work as a lawyer.