Erdogan casts doubt over courts hearing Turkish coup trials
By Pinar Aydinli
ANKARA (Reuters) - Growing disquiet in Turkey over special courts' handling of mafia and terrorism trials, that have included coup conspiracy cases against hundreds of military officers, could lead the government to curb their powers, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
The Justice Ministry is working on amendments to the criminal code, and Erdogan's latest comments will fuel speculation that the courts could be dismantled.
"We are the government who introduced the special authority courts. They worked, and were useful at times, but unfortunately harmful at others. We have to form a balance," Erdogan told journalists in parliament.
Erdogan, who has previously criticized special prosecutors for acting as if they were "a different power within the state", refused to rule out the possibility that the special courts could be scrapped.
"Anything could be on the table," he said.
"What matters to us is the contentment of our people. It is the parliament's duty to change things into ways people will be content with, if there is discontent."
Erdogan's decade in power has been fraught with tension between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and a staunchly secular military that distrusted the prime minister's Islamist past.
After they were established in 2005 to replace state security courts, the special authority courts began to pursue cases against the military's officer corps, giving the AKP the upper hand. Continued...