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Turkish court rejects government attempt to force police disclosure

A Turkish court ruled on Friday that the police-judiciary body attempting to root out government corruption did not have to disclose their investigations to the government. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] attempted to force these disclosures in order to reign in the power that police are currently able to exercise in the course of these investigations. The ruling comes amid growing controversy that has forced high level officials, including members of Erdogan's cabinet, to resign. It also stems from the arrests of the sons of the interior minister and two other cabinet members in relation to the corruption investigation. The controversy has sparked protests [CNN report], which police have begun cracking down on in recent days. Those in government claim that Erdogan's request was aimed at increasing transparency in the investigations, while opponents claim it is yet another measure by Erdogan to increase his powers amid calls for his resignation [Al Jazeera report] due to how his administration has handled this scandal.

Turkey has been under increased pressure to legitimize its judiciary following allegations of political corruption. Earlier this week, Erdogan named [JURIST report] ten new members of his cabinet following the resignation of three members under investigation for graft. Earlier this month, a Turkish court rejected [JURIST report] bids to release two members of the parliament for the Kurdish Peace and Democratic Party (BDP), Gulser Yildirim and Ibrahim Ayhan. Yildirim and Ayhan have been detained since 2010 when they were each charged with links to the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) [party website]. This decision came after Turkey's top court ruled [Turkish Weekly report] that the long-term detention of another member of parliament of the opposing party pending trial was in contradiction to the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey [text, PDF]. In this ruling, the top court promised to act in accordance with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website]. The leaders of the PKK claim that the denial of the release was political and disregarded the public will, as the decision occurred in the mainly Kurdish southeast region. The BDP called the ruling a "legal scandal." The government responded by saying that the judiciary is independent in their decisions.

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