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Turkish Constitution and Judiciary Reform Likely to Lose Secular Basis

09/07/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would submit a new constitution to the public in early 2022. In addition to the revised constitution, there will also be new legislation to reform the judiciary. According to Erdoğan, the new documents are based on individual freedoms, a strong society, and a more democratic Turkey.

At an opening ceremony for a new building for the top court, several key leaders gathered. The president of Turkey’s Court of Cassation, Mehmet Akarca, commented that he supported Erdoğan’s decision to rewrite the secular constitution. Turkey’s courts are founded on very secular roots. The predecessor of the AKP was banned by the Constitutional Court for mixing Islam with politics.

Also in attendance was President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and head of Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) Ali Erbaş. Erbaş recited Islamic prayers for the inauguration of the building. During the ceremony Erbaş said, “Since its founding, for one and a half centuries, many judges and prosecutors served in the Court of Cassation, striving to enact the justice that (Allah) ordered. Allah mandates justice.” The attendance of the Diyanet alerted critics to the role that Islam and religion will play in the new constitution and judiciary reform moving forward.

“Did we pass to a religious republic under the leadership of the Diyanet but did not know about it? What is the President of Religious Affairs doing at the opening of the judicial year of the secular republic?” commented one journalist Can Dündar on Twitter.

Al Fatihah to the soul of justice,” he continued, reciting the words of a surah of the Koran traditionally used for funerals.

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