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September 26, 2017

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Top Turkey court annuls sections of judiciary law

ANKARA, Turkey--Turkey's constitutional court on Friday overturned sections of a controversial judiciary reform adopted in response to a corruption scandal roiling the government, local media said.

The court said the most controversial clause of the law, giving the justice ministry greater control over the appointment of prosecutors and judges, was unconstitutional, private NTV television reported.

The decision came after an appeal by a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) who said it violated the principles of separation of powers and independence of courts.

The CHP's Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrikulu hailed the decision and said: "With its recent decisions, the Constitutional Court has turned into a body championing freedoms, which unsettles the regime."

"This law includes so many unconstitutional elements that it would be strange if (the court) gave another decision," Tanrikulu told AFP.

But Mustafa Elitas, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary chief, said his party disagreed with the ruling.

"We will abide by constitutional court's decision, but we do not have to respect it," he told reporters.

The court also overturned parts of the law that give the justice minister the authority to investigate prosecutors of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), an independent body responsible for appointing members of the judiciary.

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