Turkey's main opposition party CHP has detailed its hostility to the constitutional amendments proposed by the ruling AK party, which will be voted upon in a referendum on 12 September.
CHP leader Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu renewed his call on all "democrats" in Turkey to vote against the constitutional amendments in an eight-page letter circulated to the Brussels press yesterday (1 September).
The letter provides full details of the reasons behind CHP's opposition to the amendments. Up till now, this had been formulated only in general terms, referring to the politicisation of a judiciary that favours the ruling party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.
If the AKP package enters into force, Turkey will be rapidly transformed into an authoritarian regime dominated by a single party, he warns.
In his letter, K?l?çdaro?lu says Turkey's judicial authority, the High Board for Judges and Public Prosecutors (HBJP), should comply with the highest and most progressive European values and standards. Therefore, the CHP insists that the Minister of Justice should not be president of the HBJP and should not have the power to control the judiciary.
According to the AKP's amendments, the Minister of Justice would continue to be president of the Board.
The main opposition party also states that the Under-Secretary of the Minister of Justice should not be a member of the Board, as the AKP proposes in its amendments, and should not have the power to block its functioning and impartiality.
The president of the Board ought to be elected by the members of the Board, the CHP further argues, adding that authorisation to start an interrogation against judges and public prosecutors should not belong to the Minister of Justice but to the HBJP itself.
According to the AKP, authorisation to rule and represent the Board is given to the Minister of Justice. Authorisation to appoint the secretary-general of the Board is also given to the Minister of Justice.
In his letter, K?l?çdaro?lu warns of growing "authoritarianism" under the AKP government, growing arbitrary telephone tapping by the authorities, investigations aimed at silencing opponents and pressure on the media, which are creating "a society of fear" in Turkey.
K?l?çdaro?lu, who was recently elected CHP leader, is expected to pay his first visit to Brussels soon after the referendum. CHP is affiliated to Socialist International.