Turkey: President Gul proposes constitutional amendment

Instead of controversial Erdogan bill limiting judiciary's power

15 January, 17:18

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, JANUARY 15 - Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Wednesday proposed a constitutional amendment for judicial reform to replace Islamic Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bill, which has sparked alarm in the EU and the US and which the opposition has denounced as unconstitutional.

    Erdogan, whose government has been rocked by a corruption scandal, proposed an amendment placing the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) under justice ministry control, sparking Western concern about the judiciary's independence and respect for the rule of law in Turkey.

    ''A constitutional amendment would fix the problem without damaging Turkey'', Gul said at a joint press conference with Slovenian President Borut Pahor. The Turkish opposition claims Erdogan's move is designed to cover up a wide-reaching graft probe which has led to the arrest of several of his key allies. Gul met with opposition leaders and Erdogan on Monday in a mediation attempt.

    Erdogan on Tuesday said he is willing to put the amendment bill on hold if the opposition agrees to a constitutional amendment to the same effect.

    Any such amendment to the Charter must vouchsafe the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary and ensure the government can't interfere with corruption probes, said principal opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu from the social-democratic Republican People's Party (CHP). (ANSAmed).

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