Turkey: Judicial Reform Strategy fails to promote independence of Turkish judiciary, warns ICJ and IHOP briefing paper

Today, the ICJ and the Human Rights Joint Platform (IHOP) published the briefing paper assessing the reforms proposed in the Judicial Reform Strategy to promote judicial independence.

The briefing paper concludes that any judicial reform will be meaningless if implemented in the context of a judiciary which has been taken control of by the executive.

The lack of institutional independence of the judiciary, and the chilling effect of the mass dismissals of judges in the last years are serious threats to the rule of law. These factors clearly undermine the capacity of the judiciary as a whole to provide an effective remedy for human rights violations, both in regard to measures taken under the state of emergency, and in general.

The new Judicial Reform Strategy should be read against this background. Considering that problems relating to the independence of judiciary in Turkey are structural and that the situation has even further deteriorated due to recent amendments, the ICJ considers that the new Strategy will not be able to achieve its stated objectives unless it is amended or supplemented to address these structural problems.

In their briefing paper, the ICJ and IHOP note the commitment of the Turkish authorities to reform the systems of discipline, transfer, accession, promotion and ethics of judges and prosecutors in line with international standards.

However, these measures are deemed insufficient to restore judicial independence in Turkey without essential further reforms:

  • reform of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors,
  • reform of the Criminal Peace Judgeships system and
  • repeal of Law no. 7145 that still allows for arbitrary dismissals of judges and prosecutors, among other civil servants
  • introduction of judicial review for all decisions of the CJP
  • introduction of a transparent and fair process of selection and appointment of judges and prosecutors ensuring the independence of the committee and process from the executive.

The briefing paper is a comment on the chapter of the Judicial Reform Strategy on judicial independence and it does not provide a full assessment of the situation of Turkish judiciary for which reference should be had to the ICJ reports Justice Suspended and Justice in Peril.


Turkey-Justice Reform Strat-Advocacy-Analysis brief-2019-ENG (PDF, English)

Turkey-Justice Reform Strat-Advocacy-Analysis brief-2019-TUR (PDF, Turkish)

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