Public Statement by Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül on the Commencement of 2017-2018 Legal Year 08.09.2017

Distinguished Members of the Judiciary,

Esteemed Personnel of the Justice Organization,

Distinguished Co-workers,

I wish the New Legal Year which commenced on 1 September 2017, will yield good return for our country, nation and justice organization. In this new term, I wish success to our judges, prosecutors, distinguished members of the higher judicial bodies, legal and administrative personnel, lawyers among the constituent elements of the judiciary, all of whom have demonstrated a resolute determination and commitment in the interest of the justice.

I would like to extend my gratitude and condolences to the members of the judiciary, members of the justice organization who died or were martyred on duty while carrying the torch of justice courageously. I would like to extend my gratitude to their colleagues for their devotion to protecting their principles.

I would also like to extend my thankfulness to our judicial organization for its determination to preserve the law of our nation and state against the treacherous coup attempt of 15 July which firstly intended to establish a dominance over the nation and than turned into an attempt to enslave the nation. 

I would like to express my gratitude to our nation for resisting this attempt of servitude at the cost of their lives, bringing that dark heinous night into an end, protecting the national will, independence and sovereignty upon the request of our Esteemed President of the Republic. Once again, I would like to commemorate all our martyrs who lost their lives for the future of our nation and country. May Allah give our veterans a long healthy life.

I believe that these traitors who targeted our independence and future will be punished as they deserve before the Great Turkish Justice and before our nation as soon as possible.

 

Distinguished Members of the Judiciary and Esteemed Co-workers,

The strongest safeguard to our solidarity and future, security and freedom, rights and justice is our fast and effective judicial system. It is our common goal to make our judicial system through which law has a measurable value, an instrument which serves the nation and functions properly.

It follows from the historical experiences that judicial power is the driving force for social peace, tranquility and progress as long as it can act as an adjudicating body by providing unilateral solutions to social disputes. When the judicial power alienates from that duty, it becomes the reason, source and part of social and political disputes.

On 27 May, 12 September and 28 February, our nation witnessed how the judicial balance was disrupted when the judiciary failed to act as an adjudicating body and turned into an ideological instrument. The coup attempt on 17-25 December was more serious than its precedents given that some organization members were disguised as judicial members to hide their organizational ranks in an organization full of lies, defamation and conspiracy. 

Those who lack intelligence and conscience because of which they cannot find their own path, have chosen to follow others, turned justice mechanism into a tool and alienated from their raison d'être. The fact that some judicial decisions and acts in the past are interpreted as serving illegal purposes and opinions is the biggest obstacle overshadowing the system and the biggest danger undermining the legitimacy of the system.

Moreover, Turkish Judiciary receives order or instruction from no one. Its legitimacy and power is vested and guaranteed only by the Turkish Nation on behalf of whom the judgments are given. No illegal structure shall be permitted within the Turkish Judiciary.

On the other hand, we know that some circles strive to undermine the public confidence in the judiciary through lies and defamation. It should be known that we will not allow any attempt to undermine the trust and faith of our nation in justice. Under no circumstances will we allow such management of perceptions and we are going to continue to protect the reputation and rights of our judges, prosecutors and justice organization at any time and on every platform.

 

Distinguished Members of the Judiciary and Esteemed Co-workers,

We are working on various reformatory implementations and measures in order to make our judicial system function faster and effectively in the new legal year than the previous years. Our number one priority is to make civil proceedings satisfying and fast for the citizens seeking justice. Indeed, we have implemented many important reforms for the last 16 years so as to extend rights and freedoms, establish rule of law and strengthen the justice system.

Within this scope, we have adopted many reforms and innovations such as zero tolerance for torture, developing child rights, protection of personal data, positive discrimination against women, right to apply individually to the Constitutional Court, democratic oversight of administration through Ombudsman Institute, right to information, annulment of State Security Courts, reformation of Council of Judges and Prosecutors, ending the military justice, amendment of expert institute, improving the right against self-incrimination, improving and increasing alternative solutions methods and inauguration of courts of appeal. We built new and modern courthouses where our people can claim their rights. We made remarkable progress in many fields. Our reform efforts to ensure efficiency in the justice system will continue at an increasing pace.

Within this framework, we have set certain goals such as increasing the public satisfaction with justice services, preserving and improving individual rights and freedoms, putting an end to long-lasting trials, examining the legislative infrastructure in order to make it up-to-date and more satisfying, strengthening further the physical and technical infrastructure and establishing a system based on performance and productivity. The constitutional amendment which was adopted through the public referendum of 16 April in the name of judicial independence and impartiality made history as one of the most important reforms in the judicial system. One of our priorities in the next legal year will be the harmonization with the constitutional amendment which was put into practice by the national will and as a result of the referendum of 16 April.

In the new term, we will increase the number of judges and prosecutors per a hundred thousand people.  We will complement the increase in the number of judges and prosecutor with infrastructure and continuing education. Our efforts to restore the courthouses will continue at full speed. We will increase citizen-oriented applications and the steps to ensure public trust in the justice system.

 

Distinguished Members of the Judiciary, Esteemed Co-workers,

I believe our judiciary will put the same effort and work with the same meticulous care in the new Legal Year to ensure that every individual in our great nation fighting rightfully for rights, freedoms and law is treated with justice without exception.

I want to express once again my confidence in the efforts, devotion and contribution of members of our justice organization to establish a high standard legal system in our country. I would like to celebrate the Legal Year of all the members of the judiciary, personnel of the courthouses and penal institutions and lawyers who have devoted themselves to working in the interest of justice in every part of this country and I wish our justice organization success. May the new legal year yield good return for our country and nation.

 

Abdulhamit GÜL

Minister of Justice

President of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors

Judiciary of Turkey