President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, when departing for the G-20 Summit in China from İstanbul Atatürk Airport on Friday, told reporters that the president is the head of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary in Turkey.
Responding to remarks made by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who criticized the opening ceremony for the new judicial year at the presidential palace, Erdoğan said the comments were not appropriate for an opposition leader. “The [presidential] palace belongs to all state institutions, and all of them [the heads of the institutions] can use it for gatherings. The president is the head of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary in this country. What can we say to a person who doesn’t realize this?” Erdoğan said.
Kılıçdaroğlu on Wednesday declined calls by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ to attend a ceremony to open the new judicial year to be held at the presidential palace in Ankara on Sept. 1.
Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the heads of the top courts for giving Erdoğan a standing ovation when he entered the hall and applauding for several minutes. “It is a disgrace for the Turkish judiciary,” Kılıçdaroğlu had said.
Bozdağ had strongly criticized Kılıçdaroğlu and Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) Chairman Metin Feyzioğlu for their decision not to participate in the ceremony at the presidential palace.
“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 posted on Tuesday.