Justice Minister Bozdağ responded to CHP Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s promise of releasing certain individuals from prison if they come to power and stated that the judiciary is independent and no individual can give orders or instructions to judges or prosecutors.
Answering questions addressed to him during a press release held after the opening ceremony of Cemil Çiçek Personnel Training Centre in Yozgat, Minister Bozdağ made important assessments concerning the agenda.
Reacting against threatening rhetoric used by Kılıçdaroğlu towards members of the judiciary, Bozdağ stressed that “I am having difficulty in understanding Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu. When he came to Yozgat, he said “We will crash down Qandil “. When he went to Van, he stated something like “Join me and I will release everyone from prison”. You should not change your rhetoric according to the expectations of your audience. He spoke differently in Yozgat and said something else in Van. The judiciary is independent and impartial in Türkiye. No individual can give orders or instructions to members of the judiciary in respect of exercise of their judicial authority, nor can they give advice or recommendations to judges or prosecutors. This is impossible”.
ON ONE HAND, HE PUTS HIMSELF IN THE PLACE OF A JUDGE, BUT ON THE OTHER, HE USES A THREATENING RHETORIC
Reminding that Kılıçdaroğlu puts himself in the place of a judge although he does not assume any judicial duty, Minister Bozdağ continued as follows:
“He says that on one hand, judiciary is independent and it should remain independent. No one should interfere into the judiciary”. But later, he says “I will release them from prison”. I really wonder if Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu himself is a chief judge of a heavy criminal court or if he is a head of chamber in a regional court of appeal? Does he assume a role in these trial courts? How can he release people from prison? It is the court to make such decisions. It would be to his benefit to change his words. Is there a different formula on Kılıçdaroğlu’s mind? We should ask him. “Is it possible for someone, who believes in the rule of law, to say “I will release this, I will arrest that?” He visits another city and threatens public officials. He threatens others by stating that “You will account for this; you will do that or such things will happen to you”. He is using such a threatening rhetoric. On one hand, he puts himself in the place of a judge, but on the other, he uses a threatening rhetoric. He is not in power right now. However, if someone using such a threatening rhetoric comes to power, what would happen to the democratic environment, rule of law and freedom of expression in Türkiye? As a matter of fact, one cannot help but be concerned about these statements. For this very reason, it would be beneficial for Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu to adopt a stance believing in the rule of law.”
NO INDIVIDUAL HAS A RIGHT TO WAG A FINGER AT JUDGES OR PROSECUTORS
Minister Bozdağ underlined that criticisms amounting to insults and threats against prosecutors and judges on the basis of certain cases are unacceptable and he continued as follows:
“Whenever they get a favourable decision from a court, they say “Yes, we have good judges”, but whenever they do not like a court decision, they do not shy away from pulling their punches. You cannot make a judgement on the qualities of a judge on the basis of a decision. You do not know the case file, evidence or law. You know nothing. It is absolutely wrong to evaluate court decisions only on the basis of your liking or disliking. Türkiye, unfortunately, has not got rid of this mistake yet. In other words, court decisions have constantly become one of the main agenda items of politics. In a functioning judiciary, you can resort to regional courts of appeal, Court of Cassation, Constitutional Court, individual application and European Court of Human Rights. There are various mechanisms within judiciary to remove the gaps and to redress mistakes. The important thing is that these mechanisms are functioning in a healthy manner. If these mechanisms are not functioning in a healthy manner, you can criticise. You have every right to do so. However, no one has a right to insult judges or prosecutors or wag a finger at them or give them a dressing down on the basis of results arising from this mechanism. We cannot possibly approve of this.”
Reminding that judges and prosecutors work tirelessly with utmost diligence, Minister Bozdağ emphasized Turkish judiciary cannot be evaluated on the basis of a few cases.
Bozdağ stated that “In fact, judges and prosecutors are dealing with millions of files in Türkiye. The whole Türkiye is being condemned to a handful of cases. This is not true. There are millions of legal disputes, criminal cases in Türkiye. No one can give grades to Turkish judiciary on the basis of only 2 or 3 cases, those cases which are tried to be politicised. Judges and prosecutors make sacrifices to render decisions, to try cases and they bring their case files home and work on them day and night. They work under very tough conditions. I am calling out to everyone to use a clean rhetoric towards our judges and prosecutors. They can criticise their decisions, because decisions can be criticised. However, it is of everybody’s benefit to use a respectful language concerning those, who handed down decisions”.
REPORTS CONCERNING TÜRKİYE ARE NOT OBJECTIVE
Minister Bozdağ noted that reports drawn up by the European Union and Council of Europe concerning prisons in Türkiye do not reflect the truth and the meetings within this scope are prepared to legitimize these reports.
Underlining that some reports contain opinions of FETÖ, PKK and DHKP-C, Bozdağ stated that “There are those people from the European Union and Council of Europe, who drew up reports concerning Türkiye. There are those who came and visited us. In a recent visit, I told that “There are this number of people in our prisons. But you ask for information about only one of them. There are around 315 thousand people apart from that specific person in question. You do not ask for any information about any of them, neither do you wonder what is going on with them. Then I asked “Why”, but they could not give any answer. They said it was all asked of them. When you look at Türkiye, you can see clearly that the discussions surrounding the rule of law, independence of judiciary and similar issues are also advocated by the European Union and Council of Europe. I told them to extend the same level of sensitivity to everybody’s rights and laws, to be objective and to treat in the same way regarding all other detainees and convicts, to be fair and objective in all matters whenever an assessment is made concerning Türkiye. I said it to their face. I say it every time. However, unfortunately they insert the opinions of terrorist organizations in certain reports. Thereafter, they wrote in their report that they met with the “Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior and any other relevant institutions”. However, upon reading the report, you realize that opinions of either FETÖ, PKK or DHKP-C were reflected entirely in the report from Europe. But the opinions of the Justice Minister were not included. They only state that “we met with the Minister”. They are using us merely to increase the legitimacy of their report. But, unfortunately they do not produce a fair and objective reports concerning Türkiye”.
WHENEVER A REPORT IS OBJECTIVE, DUE ACTION IS TAKEN
Underlining that reports prepared with an objective perspective are guiding, Minister Bozdağ said that those reports prepared with and unjust and unfair manner and containing opinions of terrorist organizations will not be respected.
He continued as follows:
“We always say that “be objective toward us”. In other words, when the stamp of certain international organizations is put under the opinions of terrorist organizations, Türkiye would understand where it came from. We see that and tell it to out interlocutors. In our Criminal Code, there is no statute of limitation for torture. Türkiye is crystal clear about that. No matter when, those who commit such an offence will be brought to justice, sooner or later. Every official knows that. We are fully sensitive towards that. However, there rapporteurs do not treat Türkiye fairly and objectively. Let me emphasize once again. We take due action whenever we are treated objectively. When a report comes, if what is said in it is true and if it is guiding us and helping us, why should not we take due action? We have done so, until so far. However, when we receive a report which bears a signature under the opinions of terrorist organizations, it is out of the question that we value it. No one should be disturbed from that fact”.
SWEDEN AND FINLAND SHOULD CHANGE THEIR NEGATIVE STANCE TOWARDS TÜRKİYE
Justice Minister Bozdağ said extradition of 33 terrorists, who are members of PKK and FETÖ, was requested from Sweden and Finland, which submitted their application to join NATO; however, no positive response has been received so far.
Reminding that Türkiye has explicitly demanded from both countries to cease the support they have extended to terrorists, Minister Bozdağ explained this is the only possible way to be under the same roof in NATO and he continues:
“Currently, Türkiye requested from Finland the extradition of 6 terrorist members from PKK and 6 terrorist members from FETÖ. It also requested from Sweden the extradition of 21 terrorists, 10 being FETÖ and 11 being PKK members. It requested from both countries the extradition of 33 terrorists in total. However, neither country has given a positive response to these extradition requests so far. On top of it, our holy book Quran was defamed in Sweden within police knowledge, and PKK members, FETÖ members and other terrorist organizations carry out any and all terrorist acts in there. Swedish officials can meet with some members of these terrorist organizations in government buildings. They are protecting and supporting terrorist organizations and acting as a hotbed of terrorists. They are providing limitless support, including education, finance, language etc. For this reason, since they will be under the same roof of NATO and be together with us, then Türkiye explicitly asked both countries to change their negative stance towards us, and to cease the support they have extended to these terrorist organizations, which betrayed Türkiye and showed enmity towards us and to make it official. Our President and Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that. From a legal perspective, unfortunately we have not witnessed any assistance or solidarity from neither Finland nor Sweden. Unfortunately, none of our requests were met positively by them. Right now, we do not see any change in their behaviour.”
HOW TO IDENTIFY THE CRIME OF STOCKPILING?
Minister Bozdağ stated that courts would look at the act of “intention” when identifying the crime of stockpiling and continued with regard to details under the new arrangements on stockpiling as follows:
Article 240 of the Criminal Code of Türkiye defines stockpiling as “Restricting the supply of available goods and services knowingly and willingly”. Goods are abundantly available, but the seller does not sell them. For instance, there is a shopkeeper and they have a huge store and warehouse. They keep the goods in the warehouse later to place them in shelves. This is normal. However, they choose not to place them in the shelves and hide them by trying to raise their prices. When the prices are up, they put them up for sale. When goods and services are hidden in such manner, there is a deficit of goods and services, which automatically triggers an increase in prices. This is a regulation against those with ill intentions. They are manipulating to achieve a huge increase in prices of goods, services or labour. They are spreading misinformation. For example, they say “We are running out of sunflower seed oil in the market” and sell their stocks for high prices. But one week later, price of sunflower seed oil goes down. There is an ulterior purpose here, they do it only to have a price increase. Who will identify such cases? The court will identify them by looking into intention. Not everyone who does this will be guilty. The court will decide if conditions are met. There is no problem as to whom will make a decision in this regard. It requires an investigation since there will be a punishment. Prosecutors will act according to the procedural law. Courts will conduct a trial according to the laws if such a lawsuit is filed.”
TÜRKİYE IS VERY GOOD AT ELECTION SECURITY
Reminding that there has not been any problem regarding election security in Türkiye so far, Minister Bozdağ noted elections are made in line with legislations.
Explaining that election processes are carried out in a transparent and accessible manner, Minister Bozdağ added the following:
“Türkiye is very good at election security. Whoever says “Any party has engaged in electoral fraud” either they do not know the election legislation or they do not know election practices. For instance, there are more than 194 thousand ballot boxes in Türkiye. For each ballot box, there are representatives from 5 political parties, which has an MP and an organization in that district or province, and there is one civil servant, making them 6 people in total. Voters arrive at voting stations and sign papers in their presence, they have their identities checked in their presence, they get their ballots in their presence, they receive a seal in their presence. There are six people for each ballot box. Currently, at the ballot box, there are two representatives from People’s Alliance and the rest are from Nation Alliance. They hold the majority. It means that, in order to change results, these five representatives should all make an alliance at the ballot box. Is it possible or is it possible for anyone or any power to get them to make an alliance? There are around 194 thousand ballot boxes, and when you multiply them by 6, it makes around 1 million people more or less. It means that such number of people should make an alliance. Is it possible by reason? Is it possible actually? It is absolutely impossible. Our system does not allow election fraud. Besides, minutes of election is delivered at the end of an election. One of these minutes is hung on the door where ballot is cast. Thereafter, that minutes of election is taken to the District Election Council by all representatives. There are representatives and observers from each political part in the District Election Council. These minutes are being processed in the presence of these representatives. Subsequently, they are transferred to the Supreme Election Council. There are representatives from each party in the Supreme Election Council. Besides, each political party is given a link to access. Minutes of election showing the ballots bearing wet signatures are accessible to all political parties. They can make calculations themselves”.
THOSE LOSING THE ELECTION ARE QUESTIONING THE ELECTION SECURITY
Underlining that those, who start discussions on election security in the aftermath of elections, are generally the ones who lost elections, Minister Bozdağ continued as follows:
“In the past, political parties could not lodge an objection with the authorities in Ankara if they did not lodge an objection with the authorities in their election district. Now they are granted with the right to lodge an objection in Ankara. Therefore, they are able to continue their objection process up to that level. Those, who are talking about election security remind me of something. Let me be very clear. When they understand that they will lose elections, then those in opposition parties start questioning election security. Right now, the Nation Alliance, having understood that they would lose elections, are making excuses by engaging in discussions about election security. “They have a different motivation, and they have walked to the doors of SADAT International Defense Consultancy Construction Industry and Trade Inc. and other institutions and made some claims. In this way, they are making up excuses and creating grounds for losing elections. Have a look at every election. You will realize the timing of their appearance and announcements. As a person, who have run in all elections in Türkiye since 1999, I have seen the same thing all the time. The best argument available for losers of election is “election security”. It is the political parties which make elections. The Supreme Election Council only organizes elections. In other words, it is absolutely impossible from all aspects to change the election result to the favour of one political party in an environment where all parties are running in elections. That is because they do not know the election legislation. But I do not think that political parties are unaware of that legislations. On the contrary, I believe they know the law very well. The aim here is to confuse the minds of citizens. Such statements are nothing but to create an excuse for the Nation Alliance in the face of risk of losing elections.”
THOSE, WHO CLAIM THAT THE PRESIDENT WILL FLEE TÜRKİYE, ARE OVERSEAS RIGHT NOW
Stating that President Erdoğan has always adopted a brave attitude and stood with his people, Minister Bozdağ reminded that those, who claim that the president will “flee”, are overseas now.
Bozdağ added: “One should think million times before they speak. I believe that not any single person in Türkiye would believe in those words against our President. Our President read a poem and as a result he was jailed, but he did not flee. Our President founded his political party, they told him that he could not be a founding member, but he did not flee. He resigned and became a member again and became a chair of his party. His name was marked off the list of deputies, but he did not flee, either. You may remember the presidential election crisis in 2007, e-memorandum and the infamous 367 decision of the Court, but he did not flee, he fought instead. Let’s remember now, there were Gezi events, and he struggled. There was an insurrection on 17-25 December by heinous FETÖ members within the judiciary and police, but he did not flee, he fought instead. We altogether witnessed the coup attempt of 15 July and fought together. When the coup plotters were trying to locate him for assassination, our President took his family and children and flew to join his people even when the sky was swarmed by coup plotter terrorists. He got together with the nation, called on them to take to the streets, invited them to fight till the bitter end, but he did not flee. When you have a look at the life of our President, you cannot see someone, who would choose to flee. Instead, everyone sees a political figure, who is brave and challenging. All those, whoever say that our president will “flee”, are overseas now”.
Minister Bozdağ continued as follows:
“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu has not said that now, he has said the same thing before. He says it now and slanders our President. I am telling you straight that this is a clear slander. Political life of our President is there, in front of everyone. He has not escaped any struggle, difficulty or obstacle. He overcame them all by struggling and rose to his current position after great efforts. Those, who claim that he would “flee” or believe as such, are only serving to an operation of perception. They may be saying something as a part of a project. However, our president is there, right in front of everyone, his struggle is there, his election results are there. There have been 6 parliamentary elections, 4 local administration elections, 3 popular votes and 2 Presidential elections until so far, and the results are there, in front of all of us. He won all of 15 elections, he won all his opponents by a wide margin, and he won against all political parties alone by a wide margin, so who will he afraid of, who will be run away from? He is a leader backed by the Turkish nation and he is a leader, who won against his rivals with the prayers and support of the nation. He has nowhere to go. As stated by our President himself, he has lived with the honour of being born in this country. He will serve to this country and people of this country. May God give him a long life, he will continue protecting and flourishing this country like all of us.
It is good to tell Kılıçdaroğlu something. Everybody has a bank account. Taking a bank document and portraying it differently, while knowing what it actually is, is incompatible with any ethical or any legal value. It is especially inappropriate for a leader of the main opposition party, who has declared his presidential nomination implicitly, but for me explicitly. He should not abase himself that much, neither should Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu lower the level of politics and ethics that much. Everything is clear. Monetary supervision in Türkiye is open and done through official channels. Supervision of the USA is open. Everything is transparent, and published. Where it goes, how it goes, how it is spent are all clear. He portrays it as if there is a huge corruption or theft. He is mocking Turkish people’s intellect. This nation is smarter than Kılıçdaroğlu and every citizen knows what is actually going on. When opposition parties are disconnected that much from the reality and are reliant on slanders, that is why citizens adopt a stance against them”.
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