Court of Cassation president elected after 50 days of election process

Ömer Kerkez was elected as the president of Turkey’s Court of Cassation in the 37th round of elections. He won against the last president Mehmet Akarca after 50 days of the election process

Duvar English

On May 14, the 50-day-long presidential elections for the Court of Cassation concluded with the 37th round of voting. President of the Third Civil Chamber Ömer Kerkez was elected as the president, securing 193 votes, while the incumbent president Mehmet Akarca received 103 votes.

In the 348-member Supreme Court of Appeals, no candidate reached the absolute majority of 175 in the first 35 rounds of elections, and the third candidate Muhsin Şentürk withdrew from the elections on May 10. Şentürk was the president of the 3rd Criminal Chamber, which did not implement the Constitutional Court's decision to release former MP Can Atalay from prison.

According to the information obtained by DW Türkçe from the Court of Cassation circles, it was reported that the deadlock in the elections was directly intervened by the Presidency. In line with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's request, it was expected that Akarca would be supported as a result of Şentürk's withdrawal from candidacy.

However, it has been suggested that in exchange for his withdrawal, Şentürk was offered the recommendation of the Prosecutor's Office at the Court of Cassation. As Şentürk withdrew, he became a candidate for the prosecutor's office, and President Erdoğan will make the final selection for the prosecutor.

Daily BirGün reported that the deadlock in the elections was a result of rivalry between the different religious cults that have been known to have a presence in Turkey’s highest court of appeals. 

According to the daily, Kerkez was supported by the Menzil Cult while Akarca received support by the Hak-Yolcular.

Who is Kerkez?

Kerkez has been seen as "a popular name" among different groups in the Court of Cassation in terms of his human relations. DW stated that Kerkez has a wide circle of contacts due to his past in the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and the Justice Ministry.

Some social democrats, nationalists, and those who are resentful towards the Justice Ministry have supported Kerkez. Reportedly, some members close to the Islamic Menzil cult also voted in favor of Kerkez.

Ömer Topaç, who was elected as a member of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) quota, also reportedly supported Kerkez.

He will serve as the president for four years.