The Turkish Ombudsman, which looks into complaints regarding the delivery of public services in the country, received more than 2,500 complaints about the Justice Ministry in 2021, a 266 percent increase since 2017, the Birgün daily reported on Tuesday, citing an opposition politician.
According to figures shared by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Murat Emir, a total of 2,568 complaints were submitted by citizens to the Ombudsman in 2021 regarding Turkey’s judicial services.
The Ombudsman received 193 complaints from Turks regarding the Justice Ministry in 2017, with the figure rising to 816 in 2018, 2,233 in 2019 and 2,205 in 2020.
Birgün quoted the CHP’s Emir as saying that the surge in complaints about judicial services in Turkey was “worrisome,” pointing to the country’s “collapsed” judicial system.
“The legal system has now collapsed. The people who are responsible [for it] are looking for a way to escape. … Our citizens have no confidence in the justice system. The data from the Ombudsman speak for themselves. This is a disgraceful situation,” the deputy said.
According to a July 2021 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) titled “Government at a Glance 2021,” Turkey saw the steepest decline in confidence in the judiciary among OECD member countries, with a 22 percentage point decrease from a confidence level of 60 percent in 2010 to 38 percent in 2020.
As overall confidence in the judiciary increased among OECD members, Turkey stood 19 percent below the average, while it was 9 percent above the average in 2010.
Turkey disbarred more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors immediately after an abortive military coup in July 2016 over alleged ties to the faith-based Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, which it accused of orchestrating the attempted putsch. The movement denies any involvement.
The mass disbarment of members of the judiciary is believed by many to have had a chilling effect on the entire judicial system, intimidating the remaining judges and prosecutors into doing the government’s bidding by launching politically motivated investigations into critics.