Turkey ranked 109th out of 126 countries in the World Justice Project’s 2019 Rule of Law Index, while it ranked 101 out of 113 countries in 2018.
More than 4.400 judges and prosecutors have been purged since the failed coup attempt of July 2016.
Many of the judges chosen to consider specific cases were belonging to the ruling Justice and Development Party, undoubtedly affecting the independence of the judiciary, and politicizing these trials.
The judges who carried out trial procedures against President Erdogan in the Supreme Criminal Court were reverted to lower ranks, as well as their names were included in prepared-in-advance lists to be dismissed after the coup attempt.
On May 12, 2015, the Supreme Judicial Council crossed out, a judge and four prosecutors from the union, who had participated in major corruption investigations from 17-25 December 2013, leading to the involvement of a number of government ministers and their children. The accusations even reached president Erdogan and individuals from his family.
The Turkish authorities intimidate the lawyers so that they don’t defend the defendants. Around 1546 lawyers were prosecuted on charges of joining a terrorist group from July 2016 to April 2019.
Physical assaults against lawyers are part of the government’s intimidation and terror campaigns against lawyers and human rights defenders. “Togai Bey”, a human rights defender and the head of the Adana Bar Association’s Prisons, is one of those lawyers who were attacked in September 2016. “Togai was severely beaten by 40 policemen, who insulted, punched and kicked him while he was tied with both hands behind his back.” Wali Kocuk, the head of the Bar Association in Adana, said.
Ibrahim Arn, a lawyer, was severely beaten and tied with both hands behind his back, and when the police stormed his office, he asked them whether they have a search warrant, only to get his answer by kicks and punches. After beating him, 10 police officers forced him to lie face down on the floor, tied his hands from behind and put their shoes on his head.
“The majority of cases of torture or abuse have not filed complaints of torture or ill-treatment to the authorities for fear of reprisals against them and their families if they speak out about what happened to them, and because of lack of confidence in the independence of the prosecution and the judiciary. Prosecutor’s Office didn’t reportedly consider the complaints submitted by the victims who did file criminal complaints.”
A statement by Nils Miller, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, following his visit to Turkey in December 2016
“In the past, judiciary used to be trusted, and there have been civil courts that used to be relied upon to absolve the accused and lift the persecution off the oppressed shoulders. Now, the judiciary is pressured and there is no longer any separation of powers as in any democratic system that respects the rights of its citizens. I’m really concerned about the future of my country.”
A statement by Ogit Octim Tanur, the first specialist in Neuropsychology in Turkey, holding a degree of Honor Professor at the University of Istanbul.
“The independence of the Turkish judiciary has been seriously eroded.”
Donia Mijatovic, Commissioner for Human Rights, European Council, said on 3 September 2019
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