The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) submitted on Monday the legislative proposal which will lead to a considerable number of changes, yet the criminal enforcement resolution that has been negotiated for months and would open the way for many to get out of prison did not take place in the judicial reform package.
It was discussed within the AK Party that the criminal enforcement resolution would be proposed separately. The party's officials touched upon the issue during the two meetings that were conducted consecutively while also mentioning that this package will be brought to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) at the latest at the end of the month. The package was handled yesterday by the Justice Commission and will be in the agenda of the general assembly. AK Party Group Deputy Chairman Mehmet Muş said on Monday that they submitted a 39-item legislative proposal on the first package of the Judicial Reform Strategy Document to the Presidency of the Assembly and added, "Before the proposal, we visited the opposition parties, listened to them and received their convictions. We believe that we have prepared a regulation to meet the needs of society."
On the other hand, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) proposed a remission of five years for all punishments except for specific ones. However, since such a resolution would lead to discussions in the public opinion, the AK Party does not lean toward the idea and lays stress on a resolution about the period of enforcement instead. A proposal which makes the return to prison difficult came up during the meetings. It was discussed that for those getting out of prison benefiting from the conditional release will not lose their decision easily. According to current laws, a person who benefited from the conditional release loses his decision even if a small crime is committed and returns to prison.
The AK Party wants to change this for situations regarding simple and unintentional crimes. If this proposal is included to the judicial package, the person will only serve a sentence for the second crime. For instance, if a person who spends his last six years of punishment out of prison commits a simple and unintentional crime, he/she will not return to prison losing the decision. Only what is necessary for the second crime will be enforced.
Party officials indicated that if no resolution on criminal enforcement is made, the number of those who are in jail because of only drugs will reach 65,000 by 2023.
"Raising punishments actually does not reduce the number of people in jail. We will exclude terrorism, drugs, sex, and organized crimes. Necessary precautions will be taken in order not to enlarge the extent of the ‘principle of equality' of the Constitutional Court. The limits will be determined," officials stated.
On May 30, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a new judicial reform to strengthen the independent, objective, accountable and transparent features of the judiciary. The judicial reform strategy consists of two basic perspectives, nine targets, 63 objectives and 256 activities. The nine targets are: protection and improvement of rights and freedoms; improvements of judicial independence, objectivity and transparency; improving both the quality and quantity of human resources; increasing performance and productivity; enabling the right of defense to be used effectively; making justice more approachable; increasing the effectiveness of the penalty justice system; simplifying civil justice and administrative procedure; and lastly, popularizing alternative mediating methods. Prepared by the Justice Ministry for the period of 2019-2023, the reform strategy envisions a "trust ensuring, approachable justice system."