Date posted: January 12, 2014
This is how things happen in Turkey all the time. Whenever a huge scandal that would remain on the agenda for many years erupts, attempts are made to divert attention from that scandal or to cover it up with something else that is presented as if it is a huge issue.
Unusual methods are being used in an attempt to see that serious crimes like corruption, tender rigging, bribery and graft are forgotten and some interesting lies and arguments are being used to change perceptions. What needs to be done to avoid all the disinformation attempts of Oriental cunning and all sorts of religious or secular lies and hoaxes and slander is clear: Take a deep breath and recall what we have really been discussing since the beginning.
So, let us recall: The core matter is neither a power struggle between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the Hizmet movement or a so-called imaginary “parallel state,” claim propagated in reference to the natural presence of sympathizers of the Hizmet movement in the public sector. Despite all attempts at diversion and distraction, what we should always keep in mind in our discussions is the charges of corruption, graft and unfair revenues. What we should also keep in mind is the government’s attempts to block or undermine the investigations initiated to examine such grave accusations — which would normally lead to the resignation of a government in a democratic state — via unreasonable and reckless moves, as if Turkey is a tribal state. The real issue is the government’s removal of hundreds of public officers and thousands of police officers who were doing their jobs in accordance with the laws in effect and who had nothing to do with this subject matter in an attempt to cover up the corruption scandal that is substantiated by strong evidence. The real matter is the subjection of thousands of public officers and citizens to a profiling process, the removal of people from their posts in a witch hunt that resembles McCarthyism and the character assassinations of innocent people.
In fact, the actual issue on top of all of these is the attempt by a government to establish a “one-man, single party” rule using all the advantages of a repressive state, despite the fact that it came to power by legitimate means. The issue is about the seizure of power by the executive branch, or in other words, the government, by ignoring all other powers and by eliminating the separation of powers. If you like, let us define this process properly: The ongoing process is a full-fledged coup attempt by the government against the judiciary by trying to eliminate the separation of powers and the principle of checks and balances. That is, what we really need to discuss is the opposition of the government to the demands of the judiciary in an effort to cover up the largest and most comprehensive corruption probe in the history of Turkey and its attempt to stage a civilian coup by using every opportunity. To ensure the sustainability of the civilian coup structure, the government is expending tireless effort to establish full control over the judiciary by introducing anti-democratic amendments to the higher judiciary and the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which was reformed with the support of 58 percent of the voters in the 2010 referendum.
While the government, out of overconfidence in its unlimited and uncontrollable power and its zeal to acquire greater strength, is undermining democracy, democratic institutions and the supremacy of law, it will be too late tomorrow if attention is successfully diverted as is intended with these attempts. If the whole society is victimized by the black propaganda the AKP government has been carrying out, violating the most fundamental principles of law and ethics and relying on lies and fraud, you are wrong if you believe that the repercussions of these attempts will be limited to the present time. The consequences of temporary blindness now will surely affect the current generation, our kids and our grandkids, as well as the present and the future of this country, because it has already become evident that the Turkey that will be created in the aftermath of a victory by the government in this critical perception war that uses all means of black propaganda, relying on the strong media advantage it enjoys, will not be a democratic state sensitive to rights and freedoms. The actions of the government in the ongoing process actually serve as proof of what it will do in the future, as well.
Taking a look at what has been going on in light of the principle of the presumption of innocence alone, will suffice to understand what I am trying to say. While everybody is quite rightly referring to the principle of the presumption of innocence to protect the rights of the suspects implicated in the greatest corruption probe in Turkey’s history, the same principle is not remembered with respect to millions of other people who are not suspects in any alleged offense or crime. Without proper evidence, findings, investigation results or judicial verdict, millions of people are being accused of being elements of a so-called parallel state by the prime minister and other ministers just because of their ties to a certain social movement. A civil society movement, known for its education and charity services and activities, is being labeled as a criminal or terrorist organization and many evil and ugly labels that reasonable and conscientious people would never accept, including gang, provocateur, traitor, conspirers of international plots and accomplices to foreign powers, are being used with respect to these people who have never been involved in any criminal activity.
But why do these people only remember the presumption of innocence in connection with some of those implicated in the corruption and bribery probe? Why is this noble principle not recalled when the prime minister makes direct accusations of a “parallel state,” a “gang within the state” and a “criminal organization” and as many public officers are removed from their posts? Amid such grave accusations and defamation, how do they conclude that hundreds of police chiefs, police officers and other public officials are part of such structures and entities and how can they approve of purging them from office?
On what basis are thousands of innocent people being subjected to unreasonable accusations in order to cover up the corruption of figures who are close to the government, to block the investigation and to tamper with the evidence? Or is the principle of the presumption of innocence applicable only to the potential suspects from the government circle? On what evidence do they make thousands of people who have done nothing but their jobs in accordance with the laws and have nothing to do with these incidents the targets of these accusations and dark propaganda?
In sum, the real issue is not an imaginary parallel state that the black propaganda employed by government circles seeking to divert attention and to change public perceptions. Our discussion is about the attempt of the current administration that has turned to a mafia-like style to change the state into a single-party apparatus by ignoring the law and universal democratic norms.
Source: Todays Zaman , January 12, 2014