Turkish judiciary is independent, judicial board says amid Kavala row

Turkey's judicial board on Oct. 25 said that the Turkish judiciary is independent amid a row that erupted between Erdoğan and Western envoys over a call to release Osman Kavala.

This courtroom sketch shows Osman Kavala.

Duvar English

Turkey's Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) on Oct. 25 said that the country's judiciary is independent and everyone must respect judicial processes amid a row that erupted between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Western envoys over a call to release Osman Kavala. 

In a joint statement on Oct. 18, the ambassadors of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand and the United States called for a just and speedy resolution to Kavala's case, and for his "urgent release." They were summoned by the foreign ministry, which called the statement irresponsible.

"I gave the necessary order to our foreign minister and said what must be done: These 10 ambassadors must be declared persona non grata at once. You will sort it out immediately," Erdoğan said in a speech in the northwestern province of Eskişehir on Oct. 23.

In a statement following shortly after, the HSK said that statements beyond the scope of what criticism of the country's legal system would include are being made. 

"Article 138 of our Constitution says that judges are independent in their duties, and rule with regards to law and justice," the HSK said. "No organ, office, stature or person could give orders or instructions to [judges]."

The HSK urged all institutions to avoid "all acts and statements that would qualify as an interruption of judicial processes."