Gul approves final abolition of 'special-authority' courts

Broad opposition support for courts' removal

Broad opposition support for courts' removal

ANKARA – President Abdullah Gul has ratified the abolition of 'special-authority' courts established under Turkey’s anti-terror legislation.

The courts, which were formally axed two years ago but continued to exist due to a legal technicality, had faced criticism over their handling of high-profile investigations into the Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer) conspiracies.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled the bill in early January to broad support from opposition parties, particularly the Republican People’s Party and the Peace and Democracy Party.

The government first raised the idea of abolishing the courts after a prosecutor called the head of the National Intelligence Organization, Hakan Fidan, in February 2012 to testify about secret talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In July that year, the Turkish parliament passed a bill that repealed the courts but due to a temporary article attached to the bill, the courts continued operating until they finished the cases at hand.

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