Date posted: February 13, 2014
ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ
The government has been doing everything in its power to silence the graft probe. However, Turkey is not a fascist or authoritarian regime. Whatever it does to divert attention, corruption is number one on the agenda in Turkey.
Every day something pops up on the Internet exhibiting evidence of corruption. Every day the leaders of the opposition are talking about the files prepared by the prosecutor.
However, there is a bloc — no matter what evidence or information is brought — who solemnly refuse to give credit to these allegations. Surprisingly, there are some democrats in this camp as well. The corruption-denying democrats have a few core arguments that they repeat again and again.
No matter how strong the substance of these allegations, they claim, these investigations have been prepared and launched by a certain group of people, namely police and prosecutors influenced by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. In this sense, this is a coup in the form of a judicial investigation. To support this argument, they say the timing of the investigations is quite meaningful. The prosecutors launched these probes just a few months before the elections to cause a huge blow to the government. They say they are defending “politics” against the judiciary and police, who are trying to wage a coup in the disguise of a corruption investigation.
When you present an investigation as a coup, of course, there is no need to discuss whether the allegations are well founded, whether there is strong and concrete evidence, whether the prosecutors and judicial authorities did their jobs properly and so on. These elements are not important for the government’s supporters and the handful democrats who sided with the government on this matter.
I am putting blind supporters of the government aside. However, I have a few words to say to those democrats who turn a blind eye to corruption allegations with the excuse of defending “politics” and democracy.
I think what they fail to see is this: In the current political atmosphere, and with the way Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been ruling the country, it is almost impossible that corruption will not happen.
We have the perfect recipe for all kinds of corruption. The media has been silenced. It does not work as a watchdog, inspecting the government’s financial dealings. Parliament cannot inspect the government’s financial transactions. The Court of Accounts (Sayıştay) cannot inspect the government’s expenses. There are no internal mechanisms within the ruling party to make sure its leaders are accountable; there is only an infallible leader figure, and whatever he does, the party endorses it. While there is this culture of zero accountability, the government has been signing many contracts for the construction of airports, bridges, roads and power stations worth billions of dollars every single day. Under these circumstances, corruption is almost impossible to avoid. When we talk about corruption, we are not talking about a few bad guys who are doing bad things; we are talking about a system which is based on a lack of freedom of media, transparency and accountability, all of which are indispensable values for any democratic system.
Therefore, I do not give any credit to this defensive argument that they are “defending politics,” which completely ignores the fact that the very construction of the political system in Turkey is the root cause of all the corruption and misconduct on the part of politicians.
What are we witnessing is not a few politicians and their relatives who became crooked, but a whole political system that provides fertile ground on which any kind of corruption can easily occur.
And when you turn a blind eye to the corruption allegations and the way the is government is stifling the corruption investigation, you are actually turning a blind eye to the killing of democracy and politics, no matter what arguments you raise.
Source: Todays Zaman , February 13, 2014