Top judicial body says ENCJ will be ‘embarrassed’ for accusing Turkey of unfair dismissals

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Mehmet Yılmaz, acting head of Turkey’s Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK)

Mehmet Yılmaz, deputy chairman of Turkey’s Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), has said the Brussels-based European Networks of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ), which is set to hold an extraordinary general meeting in December to suspend the observer status of the HSYK, will be embarrassed for claiming the HSYK’s dismissal of 3,456 judges and prosecutors was not consistent with the principles of judicial independence.

In a telephone interview with the Cumhuriyet daily’s Çiğdem Tokeri on Wednesday, Yılmaz underlined that the ENCJ acted unfairly by setting up an extraordinary general meeting during which it will discuss suspension of the HSYK’s observer status.

According to Yılmaz, the transfer, suspension, removal and prosecution of judges, especially after a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, was based on concrete evidence and consistent with the principles of judicial independence.

“They [the ENCJ] will be embarrassed as all decisions taken by the HSYK during this period were based on the law and correct. They will see that we were right,” Yılmaz said. He also added that the ENCJ is not an official body in the European Union as countries such as Germany are not even members.

The ENCJ board has repeatedly requested details of procedures followed relating to the extraordinary mass dismissal of thousands of judges and prosecutors. In a written statement issued on Sept. 28 the ENCJ underlined that the HSYK’s approach to the removal of prosecutors and judges was not fair.

The ENCJ also asked the HSYK to “demonstrate that minimum international standards in relation to disciplinary proceedings against judges and prosecutors have been followed. To date no satisfactory response has been received to these vital inquiries.”

“… [T]he board is forced to conclude that the [HSYK] no longer meets the requirements of the ENCJ that it is independent of the executive and legislature so as to ensure the independence of the Turkish Judiciary.”

The board of the ENCJ has called for an extraordinary general meeting to be held in December for suspension of the HSYK’s observer status in the ENCJ, the statement said.

All of the 3,456 judges and prosecutors have been removed from the judiciary over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, which Turkish government accuses of plotting the failed coup.
The total number of individuals either sacked or suspended from state positions has already surpassed 110,000 in the aftermath of the botched coup attempt.

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