ISTANBUL – President Abdullah Gül addressed developments in judicial regulations and the release of prominent prisoners detained under high-profile cases such as Ergenekon.
Following a meeting with Nigerian President Issofou Mahamadou, Gül criticized the courts for failing to reach verdicts in a timely manner. According to the Turkish president, the "real issue" was not the releases but the inefficiency of the courts. "If courts fail to render a verdict even with the perpetrators of the case have been caught on the scene, we should really think about the issue at hand," said Gül, adding that it was unacceptable for defendants to be detained for long periods of time without the courts reaching a verdict or issuing a sentence. Such inaction is becoming a burden and the issue should be addressed immediately, he said. "The judiciary should proceed in a more effective and speedy manner," Gül noted. He said changes, such as adding more members to the Constitutional Court and the State Council, are necessary to speed up the process. The president further pointed out that there are many apolitical cases that do not get media attention but are also caught in a glacial judiciary.
In response to the issue, the 3rd Chamber of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) began an investigation on the failure of Istanbul's 13th High Penal Court's President Hasan Hüseyin Özese and members Sedat Sami Hışıloğlu and Hüsnü Çalmuk to deliver a justification for the Ergenekon case within a specified time period.
Ergenekon defendant Tuncay Özkan's lawyer previously filed a complaint to the HSYK on the matter. The 13th High Penal Court recently denied the release of Ergenekon suspects and claimed the abolishment of authorized high penal courts by the Parliament was against the Constitution.
The Ministry of Justice responded to their claims by emphasizing the 13th High Penal Court of Istanbul did not have the prerogative and authority to appeal to the Constitutional Court with respect to the abolishment of Specially Authorized Courts.