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Parliamentary questions
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6 March 2014
Question for written answer E-002582-14
to the Commission
Rule 117
Barbara Matera (PPE)

 Subject:  Prevention of judicial independence in Turkey
 Answer in writing 

The new law on the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors passed by the Turkish Parliament and signed by President Gül will restrict judicial independence. It entails a series of changes that will restructure the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) in Turkey by giving more power to the Minister for Justice, who serves in the executive branch. Therefore, the law ignores the importance of the separation of powers and instead grants greater authority to the executive branch. For example, under it the new inspection board chairman and deputy chairman of the HSYK will be appointed by the ministry and will report to the Minister for Justice. Furthermore, the Minister for Justice will henceforth hold the power to authorise the investigation of council members for ‘misconduct and disciplinary matters’ — which could be politically motivated, given recent developments in Turkey such as the corruption charges brought against those involved with government connections and the thousands of police officers and lawyers being demoted and transferred.

Further to prominent NGOs having spoken out against the law, so too have leading EU Commissioners, but specific action is still needed.

1. Will the statement made by the EU Commissioner on Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy be enforced by any action?

2. What will be the impact of the new legislation on EU-Turkey accession talks?

 OJ C 305, 09/09/2014
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