The judiciary in Turkey has never been independent of ideological or political pressure, but neither has it been a broken system. The European Union and the Council of Europe spent millions of dollars training Turkish judges to follow European human rights standards. But the purge has swept out some 4,000 judges and prosecutors, including many of the trainees and at least two judges from the Constitutional Court, the highest court in Turkey. Many new, younger judges have been fast-tracked as replacements for the purged ones — and they have no idea what they are doing, according to lawyers who have dealt with them. Defense lawyers try to uphold legal standards and procedures, while judges and prosecutors operate in an absurd alternative reality.

The judiciary in Turkey has never been independent of ideological or political pressure, but neither has it been a broken system. The European Union and the Council of Europe spent millions of dollars training Turkish judges to follow European human rights standards. But the purge has swept out some 4,000 judges and prosecutors, including many of the trainees and at least two judges from the Constitutional Court, the highest court in Turkey. Many new, younger judges have been fast-tracked as replacements for the purged ones — and they have no idea what they are doing, according to lawyers who have dealt with them. Defense lawyers try to uphold legal standards and procedures, while judges and prosecutors operate in an absurd alternative reality.

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