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CHP leader says judicial independence being destroyed as judges visit palace at 3 a.m.

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said that judicial independence is being destroyed by the political power in Turkey as judges reportedly visited the presidential palace upon invitation late at night.

Speaking during the group meeting of his party, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “The intelligence we receive [about judicial independence] is not pleasant. They [senior government officials] invite judges to the presidential palace, sometimes around 3 or 4 a.m. They ask questions to the judges and try to dominate them. I call out to the judges out there, who have conscience. If you let yourself be shackled by a tinpot dictator, the history will never forgive you.”

Pointing that it is a great danger to allow the judiciary to be politicized, Kılıçdaroğlu added, “The judiciary must be independent. Otherwise, it would not restore justice, but serves as the government’s pawn. What do they aim to achieve by dismissing members of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State? It is because they will appoint new members to replace them in order for the executive organs of the state to subordinate the judiciary. It will receive orders from somewhere and give decisions accordingly.”

Kılıçdaroğlu’s statement came soon after Turkish parliament passed a legislation to redesign the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Council of State by demoting or dismissing hundreds of senior judicial members at the end of June, 2016.

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