Comments on the European Commission 2020 Working Report on Turkey

In the report on section “Chapter 23: The Judiciary and fundamental rights:” it is stated as follows:

“In the coming year, Turkey should;

  • create a political and legal environment that allows the judiciary to perform its duties independently and impartially, respecting European standards; strengthen judicial responsibilities, with the executive and legislature fully respecting the separation of powers; and ensure that lower courts respect judgments by the Constitutional Court, whose decisions should follow ECtHR jurisprudence;
  • amend the structure and process of selecting the members of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors thus limiting the role and influence of the executive, and introduce safeguards against any interference by the Council of Judges and Prosecutors or high level officials in judicial proceedings”

 

In recent years, the Better Justice Association has striven to design such a solution that is uniquely appropriate to address the situation in Turkey, which we outline below, with more detail to be released over the coming months.

We propose to transform of the current Council of Judges and Prosecutors into a new regulatory body named the Supreme Authority of Justice. In its design, we have attempted to ensure that it is completely independent, fully transparent and completely accountable and focused on the production of good quality legal services. We feel that the Supreme Authority can achieve its ultimate aim of complete independence provided that it ensures the provision of quality services to the society and deserve its independence.

The Supreme Authority of Justice will have the following key features:

  • Legal professions possess their own independent professional organizations;
  • Stakeholders from across all of the society related to judicial services will be represented in the Supreme Authority of Justice and will participate in policy and decision-making;
  • Politicians’ and influence groups’ influence on the judicial operation shall be completely neutralised.
  • All acts and decisions relating to judiciary’s organisations, members and their functioning will be open to judicial review specialised Supreme Court of Justice will be formed.
  • No preliminary permissions (removing those currently in place) concerning prosecutions of public servants

 

We are confident that implementing this proposal will go a long way to solving those of Turkey’s problems which relate to the separation of powers and efficiency, transparency and accountability of the judicial power. Putting this solution into practice will automatically resolve many other problems that are determined within the scope of the EU report.