Turkey to unveil new judicial reform strategy

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will unveil a new judicial reform strategy on May 30, state-run Anadolu Agency quoted  the country’s justice minister as saying on Wednesday.

Minister Abdülhamit Gül’s comments came after a ceremony with members of the Turkish judiciary at Presidential palace in the capital Ankara, where Erdoğan gave a speech.

Erdoğan said Turkey fought for an independent and national justice system that had suffered attacks from various terror groups in the past, as well as from the political and military tutelage.

“We won’t allow Turkey to return to bad, old days when gangs within judicial system exercised arbitrary justice,” said the Turkish president. 

“The stronger we keep (our) tie to Sharia, in other words the law, the more confidently we can look to our future,” Erdoğan said while referring to a Turkish adage which says that 'a finger cut by sharia law does not hurt.'

“No judicial institution or judge is liable to make decisions in line with interests of any party, politician or person, including me,” Anadolu quoted Erdoğan as saying.

Turkey ranks 109th out of 126 countries in the 2018-2019 Rule of Law Index, a measure of how the rule of law is perceived in countries around the world by the influential non-profit civil society organisation World Justice Project.

Turkey, once a promising EU candidate country, has been widely criticised in recent years for undermining the rule of law, particularly due to practices during a two-year emergency rule declared after a coup attempt in 2016.

A declaration by 10 international legal associations in January said the state of emergency had increased the government’s control over the judiciary and “permanently (curtailed) the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession in Turkey.