A judge who was under investigation by Turkey’s Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) for filing an appeal against the nomination of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a presidential candidate on the grounds that it was unconstitutional has been removed from the judiciary, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
In the run-up to May’s presidential election, five opposition parties and members of the legal community filed petitions with the Supreme Election Board (YSK) against Erdoğan’s candidacy for what they said would be his third term in office.
Questions arose about whether Erdoğan could run for a third term due to a change in the system of governance in 2017, with some claiming he was not legally eligible because he had already served two terms and could not run for a third.
The HSK in June launched an investigation into judge Ahmet Çakmak, who was among those challenging Erdoğan’s nomination with the YSK.
Çakmak was removed from the judiciary by the HSK on July 6.
According to Cumhuriyet, Çakmak also faced other investigations launched by the HSK due to using an incorrect format in judicial correspondence and failing to arrive at a temporary assignment on time. The judge was transferred twice as punishment, which according to the HSK law, required expulsion from the judiciary.
In a petition to the HSK, Çakmak had said he is a person who gives more importance to his honor than his life, saying he would never make concessions that would tarnish his honor.
“My honor is not for sale, and I won’t give it up for the sake of receiving my salary. I have never dishonored the robe I wear and am proud of my actions,” the judge said in his defense.
On March 30 the YSK announced that it had rejected all applications challenging Erdoğan’s nomination and that there was no obstacle in the way of his candidacy.
Erdoğan was elected president again in a runoff election held on May 28.
In his petition to the YSK filed on March 28, Çakmak said everyone who has the right to vote can file objections to the nomination of presidential candidates and that he was filing the petition as an ordinary citizen.
Erdoğan is accused of establishing one-man rule in the country, particularly after a coup attempt in 2016, following which he launched a massive crackdown on non-loyalist citizens and the country’s subsequent transition to the presidential system of governance, which granted him vast powers.
Many say there is no longer a separation of powers in the country and that members of the judiciary are under the absolute control of the government and cannot make judgments based on law.