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Minister calls on Kılıçdaroğlu to attend ceremony at palace

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Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has strongly criticized main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) Chairman Metin Feyzioğlu for their decision not to participate in a ceremony to open the new judicial year to be held at the presidential palace in Ankara on Sept. 1.
“Evaluating judicial independence and impartiality in terms of formalism, compatibility with our ideologies and the ceremony [venue] is surrendering to primitiveness,” Bozdağ said in a Twitter message he posted on Tuesday.
“Despite the peer pressure and formalism, CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu and TBB Chairman Feyzioğlu should participate in the ceremony to open the new judicial year.”
Underlining that a ceremony at a presidential palace would harm the independence of the judiciary, Kılıçdaroğlu announced over the weekend that he would not participate in the Sept. 1 event.
TBB Chairman Feyzioğlu also said he would not be present at the ceremony.
“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 at the weekend.
“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.
Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said on Monday that he would be in attendance at the ceremony.
“I do not understand why main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu does not want to attend the ceremony at Beştepe [the presidential palace],” said Bahçeli while speaking to media at MHP headquarters in Ankara.

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