Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), and Metin Feyzioğlu, chairman of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB), will not participate in the ceremony to open the new judicial year, to be held at the presidential palace in Ankara on Sept. 1.
Underlining that a ceremony at a presidential palace would harm the independence of the judiciary, Kılıçdaroğlu announced that he would not participate in the Sept.1 event.
“I will not participate in the ceremony if it is not held in a place that does not harm the principle of separation of powers,” Feyzioğlu had told Turkish news portal T24.
“We were first told that the ceremony would take place at a hotel in Ankara,” Feyzioğlu added, in reaction to a choice of venue that leads to concerns over the independence of the judiciary from the executive.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 16 had hosted a TBB delegation, including Feyzioğlu, in a surprise move given the previous war of words the two engaged in during an earlier judicial ceremony.
Erdoğan and Feyzioğlu were at odds after an incident on May 10, 2014, when Feyzioğlu delivered an hour-long speech criticizing the government, at a ceremony marking the Council of State’s 146th anniversary. Erdoğan interrupted Feyzioğlu, accusing him of impertinence for speaking critically of the government at a judicial event before storming out of the hall.
President Erdoğan later vowed not to attend any future meetings in which Feyzioğlu was scheduled to speak. Erdoğan and government members were not present at a Sept. 1 ceremony last year after the Supreme Court of Appeals decided to include Feyzioğlu on the list of speakers.