The Fethullahist Terrorist Organization’s (FETÖ) use of law as a weapon in the past has eroded trust in the Turkish judiciary, Court of Cassation head İsmail Rüştü Cirit has said.
“The fact that some significant cases were resolved in Pennsylvania in the past, law was used as a weapon, a lot of injunctions, including searches, seizures and wiretapping, were used illegally and arbitrarily and that the Turkish Chief of General Staff was arrested were acts that could damage trust in the Turkish judiciary,” Cirit told daily Habertürk in an interview on Dec. 7, referring to where Fethullah Gülen, the leader of FETÖ, is based in the U.S.
“Confidence in the judiciary was shaken by FETÖ,” he said.
Saying that the judiciary is independent and impartial in Turkey, Cirit noted that claiming the opposite would be disrespectful to legal advocates’ efforts.
“It would be disrespecting the efforts of 20,000 judges and prosecutors who work day and night with devotion. Serious speculations are being made over the Turkish judiciary lately. It is claimed that there is no confidence in the law. This is absolutely incorrect,” he said, while adding that the judiciary was severely damaged by the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt, which is widely believed to have been masterminded by the followers of Gülen.
“The vile coup attempt of July 2016 harmed the Turkish judiciary the most, just like it damaged all institutions of the Turkish state. Despite this fact, the Turkish judiciary is spending extraordinary efforts to ensure justice and carry out its duty with devotion,” Cirit also said.
During his interview, Cirit said 4,000 judges and prosecutors being tried on terror charges after the thwarted coup may have also shaken trust in the judiciary.
“The Turkish judiciary is working hard to bring the trust in law to a level that Turkish people want. A recent opinion poll shows that confidence in the judiciary is on the rise and we are happy about that,” he said.
Regarding the way the Court of Cassation operates, Cirit said that their workload has been significantly mounting in the recent years, which requires an increase in the number of court members.
“There are currently 1,216,646 cases in front of the Court of Cassation that need to be resolved,” he said, adding that serious problems emerge in the duration of the conclusion of the cases.
“Several steps need to be taken in order to ease the workload on the Court of Cassation. These steps would also help cases to be resolved at reasonable trial durations,” Cirit added.