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ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan signalled on Sunday, January 12, that his government would go ahead with controversial reforms curbing judges’ powers amid a deepening corruption scandal.
“The commission put (the proposals) to vote yesterday (Saturday, January 11) and decided that they were not against the constitution,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.
Fierce scuffles erupted on Saturday ahead of a second round of debate on the government-led proposals in parliament’s justice commission, with politicians throwing punches, water bottles and even an IPad.
The reforms proposed by Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would give the justice ministry more control over the appointment of judges and prosecutors.
But the country’s top judicial body the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) has criticized the proposals for being unconstitutional and opposition parties have demanded that the reforms be dropped.
On Saturday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said if political parties reached a consensus, the proposal could be abandoned.
But the Turkish premier vowed that the reforms would go to the parliament floor having been discussed in the justice commission.
Turkey plunged into turmoil on December 17 when police rounded up dozens of people including sons of former ministers and top businessmen suspected of corruption and bribery.
Erdogan has lashed out at a “judicial coup”, accusing prosecutors running the case of plotting to undermine his government. – Rappler.com