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HomeExpertsTurkish Judiciary: Reforms and Shifting Alliances Amidst Ongoing Controversies

Turkish Judiciary: Reforms and Shifting Alliances Amidst Ongoing Controversies

Once again, Turkey’s agenda is centered around the judiciary. On one hand, there is the situation of TİP (The Workers’ Party) Member of Parliament Can Atalay, who has not been released despite the decision of the Constitutional Court. On the other hand, there is the ‘corruption’ report prepared by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) concerning the judiciary. When we delve into the subtopics of both events and other judiciary-related issues, we can see that all roads lead to the ‘Erdogan.’

Especially noteworthy is MİT’s work on the judiciary.

First and foremost, the fact that the country’s intelligence organization, under the instruction of President Erdoğan, is conducting an ‘investigation’ into the judiciary is scandalous in itself. Even if you have nothing else in your hand, this serves as evidence that Turkey has turned into an intelligence state.

Examining the judiciary is not the task of MİT. Moreover, the fact that this instruction comes from the Palace is absurd in its own right. However, because Turkey has been far from ‘normal’ for a very long time, let’s move past this scandalous stage and look at the ‘content.’

According to Tolga Şardan’s article in T24, MİT submitted the report to President Tayyip Erdoğan just a short time after Istanbul Anatolian Chief Prosecutor İsmail Uçar sent a letter to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) about it, which was only six weeks ago.

They have examined hundreds of cases across the country and noted that the courthouses have become centers of crime rather than dispensers of justice.

In fact, the findings in the report are not surprising to anyone because even deaf people have heard about the state of the judiciary.

But what are we experiencing?

First, İsmail Uçar wrote a letter, then the accused judges responded with counter-allegations, and now MİT is entering the scene. Everyone is wondering, “Are there major operations coming in the judiciary after the police?”

Some ‘overly well-intentioned’ commentators have even started calling it the ‘clean hands operation.’


Before delving into my analysis of what is happening in judicial circles and what will happen, let’s start with a loud ‘good morning.’

In the Turkish media, academia, or politics, we see ‘experts’ who seem to have just awakened from a ten-year slumber, started watching television because they recently got electricity in their homes, or returned from abroad. It’s as if Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya or Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç are not pawns of this dirty, mafia-like order, and they are acting as if Erdoğan, who gave the order to ‘investigate,’ is not responsible for all kinds of illegalities.

At this stage, it is worth noting the following observation. Erdoğan and AKP officials and bureaucrats, instead of their political Islamist obsessions, would win over CHP (Republican People’s Party) voters if they uttered a few words that pleased the ‘white Turks’ – the secular elites. Look, there are even those who praise Ali Yerlikaya or İsmail Uçar, the prosecutor for the Erdoğan family. If Erdoğan loosened his Islamist agenda a bit and made two gestures to this elitist group, I assure you they would all become staunch ‘Reis’ supporters.


So, what kind of plot or game are we facing?

First and foremost, let me remind you of this: Erdoğan has no loyal companions; he has useful fools. Depending on his political goals, he chooses his pawns, involves them in crimes, and when their purpose is served, he discards them and moves on to new pawns.

Actually, what we are experiencing right now is exactly that.

In the police aspect, they are blaming Süleyman Soylu and the MHP (Nationalist Movement Party)-affiliated team. As if Soylu made those appointments, operations, and illegalities on his own! Erdoğan’s interests at the time required it.


Now Soylu has been made the scapegoat, and Erdoğan is trying to wash his hands of it.

A similar process is happening in the judiciary.

First and foremost, İstanbul Anatolian Chief Prosecutor İsmail Uçar is not someone who would voluntarily report corruption. Moreover, he is the prosecutor for the Erdoğan family.

After the major corruption and bribery operation on December 17, 2013, İsmail Uçar engaged in legal massacres on behalf of Erdoğan. He received his reward by ascending to a position he could never have dreamed of.

Of course, his pockets and accounts swelled!

On the other hand, we also know this closely: a politician or bureaucrat who acts independently of Erdoğan or a media worker in the ‘Pool,’ despite Erdoğan’s wishes, would receive more than just a slap. In fact, Ankara’s insiders not only heard about the slap but also witnessed a cabinet member being pinned to the ground and having his head stomped on, despite being in power.

So, Uçar’s move was made on behalf of the Palace.

Just as the then-head of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hakan Fidan, and the Chief of General Staff, Hulusi Akar, played their roles on July 15 and received their rewards, İsmail Uçar is following the same path.

So, what is Erdoğan’s game plan?

In fact, the situation is quite clear. Erdoğan is redesigning once again. He is making changes in the teams he used in the police and the judiciary to do his dirty work.

Because the situation has escalated beyond control, and the police officers, judges, and prosecutors he empowered have started engaging in grand theft. To the point where even ‘FETÖ’s stock exchange’ has witnessed bloodshed.

Therefore, Erdoğan’s goal is not ‘clean hands.’ First, as he always does, he is working on ‘clearing himself.’

Second, he is reformatting the looting system that has become corrupted. This way, those who steal, plunder, or collapse despite the Palace’s authority will be reprimanded. They will be reminded of who the ‘real boss’ is.

And still, there are bureaucrats who do not fully submit to the Palace. Occasionally, despite being in power, they can make decisions. With such MİT operations or whistleblowing letters, they will shake the courthouses.

In summary, there is no ‘clean hands operation’ or anything of the sort.

On the contrary, what we are witnessing today is Erdoğan adjusting the system that he himself is responsible for creating, the system that has led to the collapse and decay we see today.

Erdoğan’s regime deliberately created this situation. Honest bureaucrats who are distant from bribery and illegality were dismissed with the coup attempt on July 15. They were replaced by individuals inclined toward crime from the ranks of the AKP (Justice and Development Party) and MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) organizations. They followed all the orders coming from the Palace.

MİT was turned into the center of the new Turkey. Erdoğan established a strong autocratic regime by involving the bureaucrats he appointed in crime. However, the mafia-like structure they created became unbearable even for the Erdoğan regime, leading to the theatrics we are witnessing today.

Don’t get your hopes up; a law-abiding system will not emerge from Erdoğan’s regime.

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Adem Yavuz Arslan
Adem Yavuz Arslan
Adem Yavuz Aslan is a leading Turkish investigative journalist in exile based in Washington, D.C.

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