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Ultranationalist leader says Turkey’s judicial system experiencing its golden age

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At a time when the Turkish judiciary is under intense criticism for acting on orders from the government, Ultranationalist Homeland Party (VP) Chairman Doğu Perinçek said on Tuesday that Turkey’s judicial system is experiencing its golden age.

“Is this a bad judicial system? Where will you find one better than this? Is this one bad because they are prosecuting and imprisoning ‘FETÖ’ [a derogatory term used by government circles to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement] members? That is why I am calling it the golden age [of the judiciary],” said Perinçek.

His remarks came during a live broadcast on Ulusal TV.

Perinçek also said during a radio program that everyone in prison was either from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the Gülen movement, which is accused by Turkish authorities of being behind a failed coup last summer, and that injustices could be ignored.

The military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, a claim strongly denied by the movement, and initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to the t24 news website, the government has dismissed 4,238 of Turkey’s 14,661 judges and prosecutors since July 15.

The government has been criticized for using the coup attempt as an excuse to purge judges and prosecutors and replace them with names close to the ruling AKP and President Erdoğan.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Barış Yarkadaş recently said the AKP government had recruited for the position of judge 800 lawyers who had ties to the party.

Justice Minister Bozdağ on Aug. 17 announced a government plan to name 8,000 new judges and prosecutors by the end of 2016.

On Dec. 8, 2016, the European Networks of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) suspended the observer status of Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and excluded it from participation in ENCJ activities for the mass suspension and dismissal of judges and prosecutors and the failure to comply with the European Standards for Councils for the Judiciary.

Despite ideological differences with the AKP and President Erdoğan, Perinçek, who is known for his pro-Russian and fascist views, openly supports Erdoğan’s purge and witch-hunt against the Gülen movement.

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