Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül has emphasized the importance of “legal predictability” to improve Turkey's investment environment and urged judges to comply with the Constitutional Court's decisions.
“Long-term investments are very closely related to a practice of law which is predictable and whose results can be foreseen. In an environment in which we do not know if the [local] court will abide by the Constitutional Court's decision or not, it is not possible to talk about legal predictability,” Gül said at a panel in the capital Ankara on Nov. 12.
Gül's statements came amid a series of recent decisions handed down by local courts defying the Constitutional Court's rulings. Last month, an Istanbul court's rejection of a ruling by the Constitutional Court quashing the conviction of former deputy Enis Berberoğlu has reignited debate over judicial independence.
Asked if the Justice Ministry will impose an “administrative sanction” on judges who do not comply with the Constitutional Court's decisions, Gül said: “What we wish for is that justice prevails. What we expect from judges and prosecutors is that they practice law bearing in mind what the case file demands, what the Constitution requires, what the law says,” he said.
Gül also criticized the use of lengthy pretrial detention in Turkey, urging judges not to rule for arrest unless it is an “exceptional” situation.
“People who are jailed in an unlawful way cannot bring those days back, their commercial losses are not coming back...What should be the basis is [for suspects] to stand trial without arrest. Imprisonment [before the trial is finalized] should be an exceptional situation,” Gül said.
Gül continued to say that there was no basis for pretrial detention if there is no flight risk, if the person standing trial has a set address, if the evidence has been collected and years have passed by since the alleged crime has been committed.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu criticized Gül for his remarks saying that he has been speaking as if he is not the minister in charge of the Justice Ministry.
“I swear that you are the Justice Minister of the Turkish Republic for a long time now. Please believe in that! You are the Justice Minister,” Tanrıkulu wrote on Twitter.