The Justice Ministry recently announced a comprehensive judicial reform that was being prepared for a considerable period of time. As soon as it was announced, the judicial reform came to the fore of public debate, simply because justice is among the basic needs of each and every society.
Throughout human history, states that were based upon justice had flourished, while those that solely relied upon coercion collapsed. According to classical books of history, the main distinctive features of great leaders have always been their high sense of justice, along with their visionary perspectives and their patronage for science.
Proverbs, such as "the sword of justice has no scabbard," point out the significance of justice for human societies. Regarding the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman I – who was commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent in the West – was called as "Kanuni" (lawful) in his realm not only due to his various deeds of legislation, but also due to his reign's reliance on justice.
Since the foundation of the Turkish Republic, law has been perceived first as the law of the Republican People's Party (CHP), and then as the law of military and civil bureaucratic tutelage. Until very recently, public law had been seen as an unjust judicial institution. The Supreme Court, the Council of State, and even the Constitutional Court had long served as tools for the domination of one political party. During the coup d'état of 1960, jurists and judicial academics proposed the continuation of military rule, along with the execution of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and his colleagues.
Throughout the history of Turkish politics, right-wing political parties have always strived to separate the state structure from the grasp of the CHP. Especially Turgut Özal, Necmettin Erbakan and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made serious efforts to liberate and revitalize the Turkish state structure. In line with the acquis of the European Union, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) had realized fundamental reforms in the judicial system. The constitutional referendum, which was held on Sept. 12, 2010, ensured the independence of the judicial branch. Unfortunately, the spy ring of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) had achieved to predominate among the bureaucratic cadres of the judicial system until the coup d'état of July 15, 2016, which failed thanks to the resistance of the common people.
When the government attempted to wipe out FETÖ from the state structure, 5,000 judges and prosecutors had to be discharged. With the help of such a vast army of judicial bureaucrats, FETÖ had threatened numerous business people, carried out the notorious Ergenekon case, and liquidated the national core of the Turkish army. Since the elimination of FETÖ from the judicial branch, the Turkish people's trust for the judiciary has been on the rise.
Still, the Turkish judicial system has serious problems. The situation of court houses had been heartbreaking. During the political power of the AK Party, the spatial problems of the judicial system have been resolved to a large extent. In addition, the software infrastructure of the judicial system has wholly been renewed. Regarding the tardiness of the judicial system, a new mentality that ensures a deadline for the conclusion of each trial has been adopted.
With the final judicial reform, the Turkish judicial system has achieved to satisfy the criteria for the membership of the EU from the extension of basic rights and freedoms to the enhancement of personal rights of lawyers and judges. Turkish people wholeheartedly support the judicial reforms that aim at turning the Turkish judicial system into one of the most respected judicial systems of the world. For the recent comprehensive judicial reforms, we also celebrate Abdulhamit Gül, the justice minister.
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