February 8, 2015

Security of life and property in the ‘New Turkey’

Bülent Keneş

The final situation of Turkey under the government mafia of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which are knee-deep in crimes and sins, is very tragic, no matter from which angle you look. It is very obvious that Erdoğan and the crime mafia he meticulously created in order to cover up corruption, bribery and irregularities -- the total extent of which is not known but some, maybe the tip of the iceberg, was revealed in the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013 probes -- have left nothing in the country regarding rights, the law, freedoms, public order and the separation of powers.

The erosion of these values, which was done recklessly, was needed in order to prevent scrutiny of the controversial relationships the same government mafia had with al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and similar other radical terror organizations, in addition to its involvement in international money laundering. What is worse, since they fear international law holding their actions to account, they are making efforts to close Turkey to the world and to the West in particular, something I mentioned in my previous article.

The final situation of Turkey is as terrible as the judgment by Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who recently said, “Nobody has security of life and property in Turkey." Kılıçdaroğlu is right. Turkey has really become a country where people are killed in the middle of the street; one group in society clashes with another group for days, around 50 people are killed in several days, just like in the Kobani protests but not a single suspect is brought in front of the law, just like in the killing of six people, some of whom were children, in several days in Cizre, which was handed to the PKK. As if his only duty and responsibility is to prevent the killing of protestors by the police or military members, the country's Interior Minister Efkan Ala, with a grinning face, has said with praise that none of those killed in Cizre lost their lives due to bullets from the police or the military in remarks that leave no need for more words to explain the situation country is in. According to this problematic understanding, as long as there are not any clashes with the police, anyone can kill a person in this country.

It is not exactly so. The government mafia, which demonstrates an unprecedented example of weakness and incompetence in fulfilling its responsibilities and duties granted by the current laws, is nowadays trying to impose a dicta regime in the country under the pretext of a domestic security package. Instead of acknowledging that the problem is not with the laws, which are already too pro-security, but with their incompetence, and hence resign as a result of this, they constantly seek new legal amendments that will establish an extraordinary level of rule, as if the country is in need of more despotic and pro-security laws. It is true that nobody has security of life in Turkey but I fear that if the controversial domestic security package, examples of which can only be seen in the most primitive Middle Eastern dictatorships, comes into force, people will not even have the ability to voice their concerns about their life security.

What about the security of property? Unfortunately, the right to private property and security of property, which are recognized as absolute and untouchable by all systems that respect universal law, have become history in this country because there is a mentality and logic in Turkey now similar to that of ISIL, which sees everywhere it is active as Dar al-harb (a geopolitical term that divides the world as Muslim and non-Muslim and further regards the non-Muslim world as a battleground) and seizes the life and property of everyone it sees as the other as contraband of war. It seems that the government mafia, which disregards the security of life of politically opponent groups and sees the arbitrary deprivation of hundreds of people of their freedom as its most natural right sees the lives and properties of the same circles as contraband of war. With this brutal and primitive mentality of those in power, which lack morals and respect for the law, Turkey is speedily going back to the dark days of centuries ago, not merely five or 10 years ago. Perhaps this is not the first example of usurpation and contraband of war practice in Turkey but let me elaborate on this matter further over the Bank Asya example.

Just like in the case of Çukurova Holding, whose property was seized and then transferred to pro-government businessmen and other similar figures, the attack on Bank Asya has already made Turkey return to before 1839, with regards to the country's experience in democracy and law. Erdoğan and the government mafia have fallen into a primitive and backward situation that is behind the rights and freedoms granted to citizens by the Ottoman sultan in the Tanzimat Fermani (Edict of Gülhane) declared in 1839. It has been the privilege of Erdoğan and the government mafia to fall behind the Ottoman sultan who guaranteed the security of all citizens' life, property and honor, transparency in trial and commitment to law, fairness in taxation, elimination of bribery, right to property and inheritance rights. In this way, Turkey has returned to the days prior to 1839 and fallen behind the Ottoman sultan who guaranteed the right to private property and abolished confiscation of private property, which is a primitive practice.

Just as with their decision to close down prep schools, Erdoğan's government mafia and the AKP government have fallen behind 1215 with regards to universal legal principles with their banditry toward Bank Asya; the 39th article of the Magna Carta, which laid the foundation of today's civil law, states: “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.” Now, think of this article in consideration of the actions of Erdoğan's government mafia and the AKP government over the past years. The judgment you will reach will unfortunately be the fact that we are faced with a primitive and brutal mentality that falls behind the era of 800 years ago with regards to fundamental rights and freedoms and humanitarian and legal development.

Is the situation of this primitive and brutal mentality, which does not recognize rights, laws and freedoms, better from the perspective of Islamic law? This perverted political Islamist mentality, which sees the country they rule as Dar al-harb, where they can seize the life and property of their opponents as contraband of war, unfortunately resembles the pre-Islamic Arabian age of ignorance considering the disasters they led the country to, the crimes they committed and the confiscations and usurpations they made. Nevertheless, regardless of the belief and views of the people, Islam sees the security of everyone's life and property as untouchable and takes them under guaranty. Those who fight for their life and property are given the biggest reward, which is martyrdom.

According to Islamic teaching, the right to property, the protection of one's property and inheritance rights are among the individual's fundamental rights and freedoms and they are one of the five main goals sought by religious rules. So, a series of measures were developed in Islam aimed at the protection of private property. There are many verses in the Quran and hadiths regarding the respect for the right to property and its protection and this issue has been one of the leading subjects emphasized by Islamic scholars.

The government and the Erdoğan government mafia, by unjustly have an eye on Bank Asya, are violating the right to property, a fundamental human right, and disregarding Turkey's experience in law, universal law and Islamic law. This primitive and brutal mentality, which does not move a finger to find the perpetrators of the murders committed in the streets and disregards life and property security of citizens, unfortunately represents a backward understanding which also disregards the right to private property.

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 08 February 2015, Sunday