November 3, 2014

Red Book

Ekrem Dumanlı

Those who came to power by promoting an Islamist ideology have been performing pretty poorly. Those who expected support from the people due to the unfair decisions of the National Security Council (MGK) up until recently are now trying to rely on this institution to achieve their goals. And unfortunately, no reasonable or liberal-minded politicians have been criticizing this or attracting attention to this mistake. What a terrible fear this is that silences people.

The final stage of the despotic nightmare of the so-called "New Turkey" is a return to the archaic practices of the old Turkey. An excessively pro-statist and repressive discourse has been inherited from that dark past. The government has set the stage for the execution of those who do not endorse its policies; critics are insulted and repressed; they argue that those who do not support their ideas are traitors. The pro-government, Pravda-like media first publishes slanderous remarks and reports, then prosecutors are asked to take action on the basis of these false reports, and some so-called informants are found to declare some innocent people to be guilty of criminality.

As if this were not grave enough, the government raised a discussion in the most recent MGK meeting about declaring some civil society organizations illegal; they even made up a category for them: “illegal organizations that seem to be legal.” Where is the legality in this description? This is such a loose definition that in the case of another party coming to power, the government could use the same categorization for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his family and friends. Not only Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), but also all religious communities, associations, foundations and groups can be considered to be in this category. This would be the end of participatory democracy.

Backstage reports indicate that the overall mood in the most recent MGK meeting was pretty tense. Contrary to expectations that the discussion on the so-called parallel state would last long, the discussion on this issue took 25 minutes. Even this was too much. The MGK should not be submitted to the hatred and fury of a person who holds personal calculations and considerations at a time when terror is widespread, chaos is approaching quickly on our borders, and the state is accused of supplying arms to illegal groups. Soldiers and police officers are being killed on the street; terrorists are declaring control in some cities; and while this is happening, some are building imagined enemies.

Media reports indicate that civilian members of the MGK insisted that the so-called "parallel state" be declared a terror organization. This is just ridiculous. The military wing of the Council, on the other hand, argued that all religious communities should be included in this definition. Well, we have been arguing this since the beginning; if you call a community or a group the "parallel state," all others will face a similar accusation; a so-called journalist working in the pro-government media did this. The health minister denied the journalist's claim because the accusation would include other communities as well. Any argument suggesting that any member of a religious community serving in the bureaucracy poses a threat will eventually lead to serious disruption. A witch hunt based on this premise will eventually include all people serving in the state administration, as well as their relatives and friends.

The fabricated crime of infiltrating the state is an antidemocratic approach that will serve as the basis for the incrimination of any targeted social group. Will the military buy this? It is hard to make a precise prediction, but the military has a fairly bad track record on this matter: in the Feb. 28 period, the MGK created the West Study Group (BÇG); of course, some civilian members of the Council also joined this initiative. But a legal process was initiated against this group, and some top military officers are still being tried for involvement in this initiative. The prime minister at the time, the ministers and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) administrators are not being tried in this case, but the military officers are. Nobody can guarantee that the military officers taking action for the manipulation of the MGK will not be prosecuted in future.

Sadly, some civilians, assuming the roles of military servicemen for themselves, rely on the Red Book to achieve their goals. When this is the logic used, one recalls the definition of domestic threats in the Soviet regime of the Cold War era. The current method resembles the brutality and repression used by Stalinists in their fight against the Trotskyists.

Stalin identified prosecutors who would comply with his wishes and initiated a witch hunt to remove all Trotskyists in the state. The investigations initiated by Prosecutor Andrey Vyshinsky were not limited to the supporters of Trotsky; all opponents were affected by this frenzy. And interestingly, Trotskyists who were declared terrorists were subjected to extensive repression through reliance on informants. Everybody knew that the assassination of Leningrad Party Chair Sergey Kirov was sponsored by Stalin and the deep state, but the repressors played their role well.

Anyway, the red regime manipulated the people through fabricated incidents. Until when? There is no Stalin now, nor is there his brutal regime. I wish the present-day prosecutors (İstanbul Chief Prosecutor Hadi Salihoğlu and prosecutor Fuzuli Aydoğdu) would draw lessons from the fate of Vyshinsky. I am sure they would draw some useful conclusions. It is no good for Turkey to rely on Cold War methods, given that even in the time of monarchy during the Ottoman era, we had a parliament. We thought that the era of placing pressure on the people through MGK was over; it is sad to see that some people are relying on the MGK and the Red Book. This is sad not because it hurts us but because it hurts this beautiful country.

You are wrong, Mr. Gülerce

Hüseyin Gülerce has been making the same claim for a while. I have preferred to stay silent so far because I thought our past acquaintance required mutual respect. He told us that he had no hard feelings when he quit. Unfortunately, since the day he left, he has directed some accusations at the Hizmet movement, Fethullah Gülen and Zaman. I would not object if what he said had been true. He either remembers wrongly or is deliberately lying. I pray it is the first. Otherwise, he would be responsible. I did not want to respond to his allegations because I thought he just remembered wrongly, but it appears that he is raising the same false accusations and making the same mistake everywhere. So it has become necessary to correct him and his statements.

Gülerce argues that the Zaman daily published a main story right after the Feb. 7 crisis reading, “The prosecutors were always right.” Well, where should I start with correcting this? It is a lie. Such a headline was never written. The Zaman daily did not print such a report, forgetting the distinction between news reporting and commentary, because that piece was an analysis rather than a news report. The main theme of that piece was the removal of the prosecutors, not whether or not the prosecutors did the right thing. The piece, recalling that the removal of the prosecutors because of instant criticisms would lead to serious repercussions, called for reason and calm. The piece was a news analysis reflecting the views of our correspondents, and was only a small part of the page.

The headline of the main story read: “The prosecutor was removed,” and only a small part of the whole report was news analysis. So, the argument that Zaman made an extensive major story was a big lie. So think about the rest, given that the initial argument was such a grave lie.

In addition, Mr. Gülerce wrote columns after Feb. 7 and Dec. 17 that criticized Erdoğan and the government. He stated in these columns that the Hizmet movement was defending itself. So this means that Gülerce is not convincing in his argument that he was terrified by the Feb. 7 incident and decided to leave the Hizmet movement after Dec. 17.

He further argues that Ahmet Turan Alkan, İhsan Dağı and Mümtaz'er Türköne made some grave accusations and that these could not be published without the consent of Gülen. Well, do you really believe this, Mr. Gülerce?

Mr. Gülerce, we are talking about a movement of volunteers, not an illegal organization. There is no application form for membership in the Hizmet movement, and there is no need to sign a document before leaving. If you like it, you join its activities; if you do not, you can join anybody you like. It is not true to argue that such a grassroots movement will be destroyed by repressive measures. If Allah does not consent, nobody will be able to finish it off. Besides, somebody has always tried to destroy others, including Alevis, left wingers, right wingers and Kurds. But no movement with social roots will disappear just because somebody asked for it. There is no need to offend people and identify them as criminals; it is a sinful act that calls for serious responsibility.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 02 November 2014, Sunday