Category Archives: Turkije

Recente ontwikkelingen in Turkije

Vrienden van Rechters voor Rechters,Vlag Turkije

Gelet op de meest recente ontwikkelingen in Turkije leek het goed u bij te praten, voor zover u ons niet op Twitter heeft gevolgd.

Afgelopen vrijdag, 15 juli, is aan u de zomernieuwsbrief toegestuurd. In het voorwoordje vroeg ik onder andere aandacht voor de zorgelijke situatie in Turkije. Eerder die week had ik contact met de Nederlandse Ambassade in Ankara. Ik sprak toen mijn waardering uit voor het feit dat een ambassademedewerker de zitting van het proces tegen de twee Turkse rechters Başer & Özçeli̇k had bijgewoond. Het feit dat deze rechters al ruim een jaar vast zaten op verdenking van deelname aan een terroristische organisatie was – ook in de Turkse context – toch uitzonderlijk te noemen, vond ik.

Little did we know…

Continue reading Recente ontwikkelingen in Turkije

Publication Open Letter of Yarsav (Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors): “Final conquest of the last bastion of turkish judiciary: government purging high judiciary”

Vlag TurkijeAfter relocation of nearly 9000 judges (out of appx. 15000) in less than 20 months and recruiting thousands of politically loyal people as judges and prosecutors to high judicial ranks, the government, under the disguise of “judicial reform”, “judicial re-organization”, using the pretext of purging “parallel structure members” is reducing the number of members of the supreme courts by half.

A draft law aiming to change the structures of supreme courts, Council of State and Court of Cassation, has been submitted to the Parliament by the Justice and Development Party with plans to have it passed before the Parliament goes to recess at the end of June.

According to the draft, the number of judges at the Court of Cassation will be reduced from 516 to 200, while the number of judges at the Council of State will drop from 195 to 90. Tenure of high judges will be terminated when the law goes into effect. Right after this, the Judicial Council, which is under direct control of the government, will make reappointments to the high courts in 5 days among the same group. Some members of the Council of State will directly be appointed by President Erdoğan. Judges, whose tenure will be terminated and who are not reappointed to the supreme courts as high judges will be sent to different lower instance courts as a plain judge. Newly reappointed high judges’ tenure will be limited to 12 years. Continue reading Publication Open Letter of Yarsav (Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors): “Final conquest of the last bastion of turkish judiciary: government purging high judiciary”

Publication of Open letter of Yarsav (Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors): “THE LAST S.O.S CALL FROM FREE TURKISH JUDGES”

Vlag TurkijeAccording to government controlled daily newspaper (Sabah) which functions as a mouthpiece and precursor of government attacks to the judiciary, the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors will suspend a total number of 680 judges and prosecutors on the grounds of being members of “Parallel Structure” and “Gülenists”. Ensuingly judges and prosecutors will be disbarred from profession and put on trial in a very short time. According to the news, although this number (5000) is denied by HCJP, there are a total number of 5000 judges and prosecutors who are being investigated and this will be the first step to disbar and try all of them.

This will be the greatest purge that we have ever seen and we know that without concrete evidence our colleagues and ourselves will be labeled as members of “Parallel Structure” and “Gülenist” and persecuted accordingly as it has happened to many of our colleagues previously.

As a first step there will be 120 administrative judges and 560 civil and criminal judges and prosecutors most probably including many members of our association “Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors”.

According to said newspaper the vice president of the Judicial council, Mr. Metin Yandırmaz, told them that judicial leg of this parallel organization (a term which is coined by President Erdoğan), has 5000 judges and prosecutors and they will all be dealt with step by step.

So far 14 judges and prosecutors were disbarred from profession, being put on trial, some arrested and 80 judges and prosecutors have been suspended under this pretext.

Executive’s modus operandi is to make this kind of news in his own media firstly and after weighing reactions and see that there is not enough reaction he carries out his plans accordingly. We have seen this many times. It is obvious that this news is laying the groundwork for a huge purge.

This is the last chance of the contemporary world and international community that believe in democracy, fundamental rights and independence of judiciary to react strongly otherwise there will be a dictatorship on the doorsteps of Europe under your watch.

We, Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors, invite international institutions to react and stop executive’s latest attempt to eradicate the last obstacle in front of it in order to establish a dictatorship within the boundaries of Turkey which will have detrimental effect on our region and Europe. This is the last chance to say stop this madness or in order to save today, tomorrow will be lost for all of us who wants to see peace in the region and Europe.

Free Turkish judges and prosecutors who are defending democracy, freedoms and independence of judiciary need your immediate support, solidarity and reactions in order to save the last bastion of Turkish democracy.

We would like to underline the reality that this may be the last call issued by us to the free world.


Murat Arslan

President of YARSAV (Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors)

Trial observation regarding Turkish judges Baser and Öczelik

On February Flag_of_Turkey.svg10th, 2016, the former chair of Judges for Judges, Gerritjan Van Oven observed the second hearing in the criminal trial against the judges Baser and Öczelik in Ankara (Turkey).

Judges for Judges has been following their cases since their arrest and detention in May 2015 (see for more information:

IAJ Honorary President Mr. Gerhard Reissner observed the trial as well, he had been also present at the hearing of January 21sIAJt.

Although three days were earmarked for this trial, it was postponed after the first day. After motions of the defense lawyers concerning the competency of the court were denied earlier that day finally all the lawyers stepped down and the two accused judges remained without defense lawyers. Due to the type of the offenses the two judges are suspected of a defense lawyer is necessary, so the trial had to be adjourned. The prosecutor put forward a motion to keep the judges in detention. Both of them delivered in response a long and impressive argumentation showing why there is no legal basis to keep them in prison.

In spite of their arguments, after a break the court announced that the accused judges should remain in detention and that they had 15 days to reorganize their defense otherwise a court appointed defense counsel would be assigned.

The court also announced which witnesses the court is going to hear. The two accused judges made clear that they wanted to be present during the questioning of the witnesses and that they also want to have the possibility to ask them questions in order to defend themselves.Rechters voor Rechters

The court made it possible that the accused could see their families, which had traveled from Istanbul to Ankara to follow the hearing, among them the wife of defendant Öczelik, a medical doctor, who used to work for the Bezmialem Vakif University Hospital but who was fired without reasoning but right after the arrest of her husband and the couple´s 5 year old son, who was probably for the same reason expelled from his kindergarten.
The observers also had a short possibility to speak with the accused judges and their families.

The next hearing will take place March 14th, Judges for Judges plans to send an observer again.

Informele bijeenkomst Special Rapporteur Monica Pinto en NGO-supportgroup

Evert van der Molen overhandigt exemplaar Matters of Principle aan Monica Pinto
Evert van der Molen overhandigt exemplaar Matters of Principle aan Monica Pinto

Op uitnodiging van Monica Pinto, de speciale rapporteur voor de onafhankelijkheid van rechters en advocaten bij de Verenigde Naties, vond op 16 september 2015, eveneens in Genève, een informele bijeenkomst plaats waarvoor NGO’s als International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Human Right Watch (HRW)) en ook Rechters voor Rechters (RR) waren uitgenodigd. In totaal waren vertegenwoordigers van zo’n 15 NGO’s aanwezig. RR werd vertegenwoordigd door bestuurslid Evert van der Molen.

Monica Pinto vertelde in haar openingswoord dat zij erg is ingenomen met de hoge opkomst en dat zij graag ideeën zou vernemen over de thema’s die de komende tijd prioriteit moeten krijgen. Dat leverde een staalkaart van suggesties op. Om er enkele te noemen Continue reading Informele bijeenkomst Special Rapporteur Monica Pinto en NGO-supportgroup

J4J condemns the unreasoned removal of Murat Arslan against his will

Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey

Dear Mr. President,

The Dutch Foundation Judges for Judges — which aims to support fellow judges abroad who have experienced or may experience problems related to their profession — kindly draws your attention to the case of our Turkish colleague Murat Arslan.

Murat Arslan, chairman of Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV) was recently removed from his duty as reporter in the Constitutional Court. He was informed earlier this month by the Court’s Secretary-General that he had been relieved of his post which he had held for the past 10 years. No reasons therefore were given.


We condemn the unreasoned removal of Murat Arslan against his will to his former judicial post, we therefore ask you as the President of the Constitutional Court for reinstatement of Murat Arslan to his duty as reporter in your Court.

[Read the whole letter (pdf)]

See also: J4J concerned by the arrest and ongoing detention of two Turkish judges


J4J concerned by the arrest and ongoing detention of two Turkish judges

Judges for Judges is very concerned by the arrest and ongoing detention of two Turkish judges Metin Özçelik and Mustafa Başer since April 30th and the 1st of May respectively.

In a society based on the rule of law it is the duty of the government to respect and protect the independence of the judiciary. But we are alarmed by this apparent serious interference with the work of these judges in politically sensitive cases.

This because there are serious indications that these two judges were arrested and detained as a result of decisions they made while discharging their professional duties rather than on evidence of criminal activity.

Tamara Trotman had a meeting in Istanbul on July 27th 2015 with Başer’s and Özçelik’s lawyers Hacer Yilmaz and Önder Durdu. Afterwards there was a pressconference in front of the Court in Istanbul where both lawyers made statements about the cases of their clients.
Further reading:

Continue reading J4J concerned by the arrest and ongoing detention of two Turkish judges

MEDEL Resolution on the Imprisonment of Judges and Prosecutors in Turkey


  • MEDEL stresses that the arres of Judges and Prosecutors based on decisions they made as part of their job clearly contradicts the Turkisch Constitution, the European Convention of Human Rights, al other international texts on this matter and the basic principles of Judicial Independence.
  • MEDEL declares that it is unacceptable to use arrests and dismissals to intimidate and deter Judges and Prosecutors when they work on critical cases and stresses that arrests and dismissals must no be misused as punishment from the government.
  • MEDEL condemns the arrest and dismissal of Judges and Prosecutors on the basis of decisions taken in the exercise of their judicial functions and calls for the immediate release of the Judges and Prosecutors and their reinstament in their former duties.



MEDEL Resolution sur l’Arrestation de Juges et de Procureurs en Turquie


  • MEDEL affirme que les arrestations de juges et de procureurs fondées sur les décisions qu’ils ont prises dans le cadre de leurs fonctions sont contraires à la Constitution turque, à la Convetion européenne de droits de l’Homme, à tous les textes internationaux en la matière et aux principes fondamentaux d’indépendance du pouvoir judicaire.
  • MEDEL déclare qu’il est inacceptable que de juges eet procureurs qui travaillent sur des affaires sensibles soient menacés d’être incarcérés ou révouqués et que l’arrestation et la révocation ne doivent pas d’être utilesés comme des punititions par le gouvernement.
  • MEDEL condamne les arrestations et les révocations des juges et procureurs turcs sur le fondement de leurs décisions juridictionnelles et appelle à la libération immédiate de nos collègues et à leur réintégration dans leurs fonctions.



Turkey’s top court confronts Erdoğan’s government on judicial independence

In what is seen as an escalation of the locking of horns between the judiciary and the government over judicial independence, the Constitutional Court announced on Friday it partially annulled a highly controversial law to restructure the HSYK, which went into effect in February after being approved by the president.

The Constitutional Court announced on Friday it partially annulled a highly controversial law to restructure the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which went into effect in February after being approved by the president.

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