Date posted: December 18, 2013
We, of course, have not yet seen any hard, concrete evidence related to the most recent corruption investigation. The suspects are most probably innocent, and until they are convicted we have to accept that they are innocent.
Nevertheless, the prosecutors must be out of their minds, starting such an investigation against the very powerful Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government without any serious evidence. Four of Erdoğan’s ministers are in one way or another involved in the case, and if concrete evidence is presented to the judges, the Erdoğan government will be in very serious trouble when the elections come around. Despite this, the Erdoğan government’s initial reactions to the new corruption investigation are not promising. Instead of swiftly declaring its support of the investigation, the administration chose to refer to international dark forces staging an illegitimate operation against the government. Then it indirectly interfered with the case and assigned two more prosecutors to the probe. We remember this move from the Ergenekon cases.
When prosecutors dealing with that case were dragging their feet and, instead of deepening the investigation, were ignoring evidence, new, democracy-minded prosecutors were assigned to the case. It seems that we are now seeing something similar, but possibly in the opposite direction; a move to undermine the case. We will see. Then, we were shocked to learn of an allegation that the famous and heroic prosecutor of the Ergenekon case, Zekeriya Öz, was going to be removed from the new corruption case. Nobody doubts the democratic and judicial integrity and credibility of Mr. Öz. This would be a serious blow to the government’s credibility. All this suggests that the Erdoğan government is panicking. This doesn’t mean that they are panicking because they’re guilty, however; they may have panicked because they seriously and sincerely believe that there is an international conspiracy against them.
However, what they have done so far only makes it look like they’re trying to stop the investigation. This is the worst possible strategy. It is quite obvious that Erdoğan isn’t consulting with the experienced members of his party who have been with him for 30-40 years. Instead, he is surrounded by a young group of people who, judging by their tweets, seem to be more radical. While Erdoğan’s experienced friends — his ministers and his party’s parliamentary deputies — refrained from using harsh language against the Hizmet movement, some of these young advisers were very harsh. This suggests that Erdoğan will continue to ignore his experienced friends and continue to make mistakes. Erdoğan’s history is repeating itself. He did not listen to Gül or Bülent Arınç during the Gezi protests and received a very serious blow.
After insisting that he would build the barracks in Gezi Park for two weeks, he completely shelved the project, coming around to Gül and Arınç’s view — but only after six people were killed and hundreds injured. This attitude was repeated during the dershane crisis. Neither Erdoğan nor his bureaucrats could convince the public that their plan was educational, and not an attempt to punish the Hizmet movement. Gül, Arınç and several of Erdoğan’s ministers couldn’t stop Erdoğan, who started a war against the Hizmet movement and even directly attacked Fethullah Gülen by taking remarks Gülen made about the headscarf ban 15 years ago completely out of context. This was a strategic mistake. Erdoğan doesn’t seem to be in the mood to listen to anyone who thinks differently. This means that he will behave hastily and will continue to make mistakes. But if he meddles too much with the judicial investigation, he may put the democratic credentials of his government at risk. A good move would be for him to ask his ministers who are under investigation to resign until the investigation is complete. Another good option would be to call early elections.
Source: Today's Zaman , December 18, 2013