After the failed military coup more than 2 000 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed in Turkey. The two trade unions of judges in Belgium, the Association of Magistrates and Magistratuur en Maatschappij, have expressed their concerns about the judiciary in Turkey in a letter to Prime Minister Charles Michel and the Minister of Justice Koen Geens.
The associations have received “worrying news” from their colleagues about the suspension of 2 745 Turkish judges and prosecutors. An arrest warrant has been issued for nearly 200 of them.
“The speed with which this list of dismissed judges was compiled makes us fear that the arrests are arbitrary and planned,” state the Belgian associations.
“These suspensions and arrests seem to fit with the attempts of the regime of President Erdogan in recent months to destabilize and ‘purify’ the judicial system.”
Both associations are members of the umbrella organization European Magistrates for Democracy and Liberties (MEDEL), which brings together professional associations of magistrates throughout Europe, including Turkey.
MEDEL says that it follows “with great concern the developments in Turkey.”
“We urge you to intervene with the Turkish authorities but also with the Council of Europe and the European Union, and to express the concerns in our country,” the Belgian associations write in their letter.
“We urge you all the more to pressure the Turkish authorities to respect the independence and integrity of the judiciary “, added the judges. They expect the ministers to do their part of expressing “deep concern for the independence of the judiciary in Turkey.”
The military coup was an attack on Turkish democracy and failed among others because the people went out on the streets to defend the democratically elected government. According to analyses in media, President Erdogan can either use the failed coup as an excuse to strengthen his grip on the country or as an opportunity to reconsider his authoritarian policies.