Turkey parliament tightens government control over judiciary

Bye-bye independence of judiciary

ISTANBUL - Turkey's parliament has passed a contested bill further tightening the Islamic-rooted government's control over the judiciary, state media said Wednesday.
The new legislation, adopted late Tuesday after heated debate, seeks to restructure the higher echelons of the judiciary, stripping top judicial bodies such as Supreme Court of Appeals of their power to appoint judges and prosecutors.
The law also grants police and prosecutors greater powers to search, detain and arrest suspects without charge, the official Anatolia news agency reported.
"Reasonable doubt" will justify a police search as opposed to the current "strong suspicion based on concrete evidence."
Under the law, the police will be able to seize the property of anyone accused of "committing a crime against the government", Anatolia reported.
The legislation is the latest round in a bitter feud in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused his former ally Fethullah Gulen of using his influence over the police and judiciary to damage the government with corruption allegations.
The president, who also ruled Turkey as premier for over a decade, has already sought to curb the judiciary and sacked hundreds of police and prosecutors believed to be linked to the Gulen movement.
Parliament passed a law in April that also gave the government greater powers over the judiciary, raising concerns among critics both at home and abroad over the state of democracy in Turkey.
Turkey's constitutional court later annulled key sections of that law, saying it was unconstitutional.