- POSTED: 12 Jan 2014 02:10
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Turkey's justice minister said on Saturday that the government may back down on a bid to curb judges' powers amid a deepening corruption scandal.
ANKARA: Turkey's justice minister said on Saturday that the government may back down on a bid to curb judges' powers amid a deepening corruption scandal, local media reported.
"If political party groups come together ... and reach a consensus, the proposal could be halted," Bekir Bozdag was quoted as saying by the private NTV television.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) moved to rein in the top judicial body - the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) - after a high-level bribery and corruption probe implicated key allies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The reforms proposed by the AKP, notably giving the justice ministry more control over the appointment of judges and prosecutors, were slammed as unconstitutional by both the HSYK and the main opposition.
Scuffles broke out ahead of a second round of debate on the proposals in parliament's justice commission on Saturday, with local media reporting that politicians threw punches, water bottles and an iPad.
The tensions erupted after the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) called on the AKP to withdraw the bill, according to NTV.
Bozdag said earlier in the day that the proposed reforms would not be withdrawn.
Turkey plunged into turmoil on December 17 when police rounded up dozens of people including sons of former ministers and top businessmen suspected of numerous offences including bribery for construction projects and illicit money transfers to neighbouring sanctions-hit Iran.
Erdogan has alleged a foreign conspiracy aimed at undermining his government.