Orhan Kemal Cengiz
So many police officers have been taken into custody in connection with allegedly illegally tapping telephones, espionage charges, on suspicion of creating false evidence and so on. And these police officers include almost all the police officers who conducted the graft investigation in which ministers, their children and the prime minister's son were shown as prime suspects.
These police officers were arrested on the orders of the newly established justices of the peace. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had stated before that these courts were being established for specific purposes. The justices of the peace who decided to arrest the police officers are the same ones who freed the suspects in the graft probe. The judges have been appointed to these newly established peace courts, which are the sole and only authority right now in Turkey to make decisions on the restriction of freedoms. They are the judges who will issue wiretap and arrest warrants.
With all good will, you might say the government appointed these particular judges to these courts because they proved themselves the champions of freedom by freeing all the suspects in the graft probe. However, this would be too naive a conclusion, and as soon as the police officers are brought before these judges, I believe that quite the contrary will come true. I guess most of the suspects are going to be put in prison, because these judges were appointed for a specific purpose, as stated by Prime Minister Erdoğan, to fight against the “parallel structure,” namely against the people who are affiliated with the Gülen movement.
If you look at newspapers close to the ruling party, you can see that the arrest of these police officers is only the first step; they say this first wave is going to be followed by the arrests of judges, prosecutors and media people.
Erdoğan himself has also declared that these first waves of arrest would be followed by others.
I strongly believe and wish that, if there are circles within the security forces and judiciary who get orders from any person outside their official hierarchy, as is claimed by Erdoğan and the government, they deserve to be punished harshly.
However, it is obvious, not only from these seemingly political arrests but also from all the other steps the government has taken recently, that this discourse about the “parallel state” is providing the government with a wonderful tool, a fantastic excuse to create a totalitarian state in which the freedoms of individuals are severely limited, a state in which everyone will be at the mercy of the “leader.” It provides a panacea for the serious allegations of corruption, abuse of power and arbitrary rule on the part of the government.
And it is obvious that this magic word “parallel” will be in circulation for a long time, until many freedoms have been seriously curtailed. What we are witnessing in Turkey is just a repetition of the reverse democratization process in other countries, in which “internal” and “external” enemies are used as an excuse to destroy the freedoms of individuals.
Published on Today's Zaman, 24 July 2014, Thursday