Nergis Demirkaya/DUVAR

Turkey’s parliament, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) ushered in its new legislative year on Oct. 1 following a 2.5 month recess. The main issue on the agenda is the government’s much-discussed judicial reform package. 

The package, which Erdoğan has talked about continually throughout this year, includes measures such as lowering the period that people can be held in pre-trial detention, speeding up the trial process, granting diplomatic passports to lawyers, and returning the passports of those dismissed from their government jobs by decree who are currently not under investigation. 

The opposition has blasted the judicial reform package as an empty gesture, maintaining the judicial reform is impossible to implement under the current climate, which is effectively under the control of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Numerous prominent political prisoners are behind bars in charges that are considered by critics of the government to be baseless.

In spite of that, AKP Group Deputy Chairman Mehmet Muş said that the opposition has not seriously criticized the package, adding that they characterized it as positive and emphasized the amendment which would reduce periods of pre-trial detention.  

The initial draft of the package prepared by the Ministry of Justice has been presented to the three opposition parties as well as the AKP’s ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). 

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which does not consider the government’s judicial reform package to be actual reform, is expected to present an alternative version. 

A commission is expected to be established regarding the suspicious death of Rabia Naz, a 12-year old girl whose killing spawned major controversies as it is been speculated that government officials were behind the coverup of the accidental killing, which is believed to have resulted from the young girl being hit by a car operated by a relative of a local politician. 

A report prepared concerning animal rights is also expected to be completed.