The High Council of Judges and Prosecutors in Turkey: Roundtable Discussion on Its New Structure and Operations

Author
Onur Bayramoğlu
Content Type
Special Report
Institution
Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
Abstract
One of the most critical areas of reform in Turkey’s recent history involves the judiciary, which has served to corroborate the tutelary regime. With a discourse emphasizing that the judiciary itself must also be bound by the “rule of law”, the Justice and Development Party (JDP) took a number of steps toward reforming the administration of supreme judiciary bodies, as well as the judiciary in general. The constitutional amendments brought to the ballot in the referendum of 12 September 2012 essentially represented an initiative to transform the judiciary. The amendments package was intended to equip the Constitutional Court and the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) with a more pluralist structure. This report titled “the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors in Turkey: Roundtable Discussion on its New Structure and Operations” is based on discussions of the roundtable meeting attended by representatives from judges and prosecutors professional associations such as YARSAV (The Association of Judges and Prosecutors) and Demokrat Yargı (Democratic Judiciary Association), which adopted divergent positions over the course of the referendum; one representative from HSYK, the direct addressee in the debate; and experts with diverse opinions. With the roundtable, we intended to generate direct discussion by experts and practitioners of the field in a small group affording sufficient time for speakers. As a result, we treated the current situation and practice through an insider’s perspective and in detail. This also provided a shared platform where parties coming from varying political positions exchanged opinions regarding both the HSYK and several contested aspects of the judiciary reform. The roundtable ensured that critiques were communicated to and discussed with the directly relevant parties through face-to-face conversations.
Topic
Democratization, Law, Rule of Law, Justice, Judiciary
Political Geography
Turkey, Middle East