Turkey has been experiencing shockwaves from the debate over the graft and bribery investigation and coup charges.
Every incident leaves some residue in us. This residue may be negative or positive depending on our position regarding the incident at hand. This country has seen numerous fights, wars, struggles for power and conflicts. The current tension will come to an end eventually. The sponge will release the water it has absorbed. We should focus on the residue left behind in the sponge. If we fail to clean up the harmful deposits, the sponge will ossify.
The tension between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Hizmet movement has exposed a certain weakness of ours: moral collapse. It is certain that there have been corrupt practices and acts of bribery -- as substantiated by safe-deposit boxes, millions of dollars and euros in cash, expensive watches, ministers forced to resign, and audio recordings posted on the Internet, among other things.
Some people claim that all of this evidence is fake, forged and unfounded. The number of these people is not high. Others concentrate on the timing of the investigation, asking, "OK, but why now?" There are also the people who fall in the category that says, "Everyone steals, but these guys do work."
The people in the last two groups attest to the presence of corrupt practices and acts of bribery. Actually, corruption is acknowledged by an overwhelming majority, excluding a small group. The people in this majority tend to raise objections to the investigation, questioning its timing and rationale.
The fact that these objections are raised by "religious/conservative" groups is proof of profound decadence within society. Imagine a Muslim who says: "OK, I accept that there is corruption, but why is it being investigated now? So I gather there is ill-intention behind this investigation."
All corrupt practices will eventually be questioned. When should prosecutors take action? Should they act when corrupt executives allow them to proceed with the investigation? The scandalous bit: Those who raise objections to the graft investigation refrain from questioning the deeds of corrupt politicians. Normally, a Muslim is supposed to exhibit the following attitude in all circumstances: All allegations of corruption must be investigated immediately.
"Everyone steals. Is there anyone who does not steal?" This objection constitutes the most scandalous form of disgrace. It amounts to saying, "We, too, may steal." If voters continue to support the ruling party despite the allegations of corruption -- the investigation into which has been obstructed -- does this mean that corruption is legitimate? Even if 99 percent of society voted for the corrupt government, this does not make corruption legitimate.
Elections and democratic processes do not exonerate politicians who are charged with corruption. Democratic support for corrupt politicians is portent only of the moral weakness of a society. "Even if the audio recordings are true, no one believes them," Burhan Kuzu said, with apparent reliance on this weakness. If there is a "political conspiracy" involved, does this legitimize the crime?
In early March, I was at a barbershop in İskenderpaşa, İstanbul. A man with no connection to the Islamic community entered. "This time, I will vote for Necmettin Erbakan's Welfare Party [RP]," he said angrily. "Is it really you saying this? The RP is not your type," the barber teased him. "This Republican People's Party [CHP] does not work, but it steals. The Motherland Party [ANAVATAN] works, but it steals. The RP is the party of honest people. They will work and won't steal," the man snapped back.
One of the RP's five political promises was "to ensure moral integrity and cleanse the public sector of corruption." We are now in the year 2014. All the religious/conservative people can say about the corrupt practices of the administration is: "Even if the corruption charges were true, voters wouldn't believe them" or "Is there any party that does not steal? The current one steals, but works in return."
Now, religious people who are supposed to be honest and reliable have become dirty. When religious people become dirty, this damages the prestige of religion as well. If religious people can tolerate corrupt practices with such justifications, this is a sign of the greatest disaster that can befall society. Apparently, there is permanent damage to the foundation.
Published on Today's Zaman, 08 December 2014, Monday