Have you ever bought anything from peddlers on ferries?
With exaggerated details, they explain that they will sell the bottle of “miraculous” liquid they produce from their bags only for TL 100. After a brief bargaining, they put the bottle in your hands only for TL 5. When you get home, you understand that it was nothing but tap water mixed with essence and you get enraged. The case of those who attempt to indict the Gülen (Hizmet) movement, inspired by well-respected Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, is like that of those peddlers. They have started the bargaining with the most serious charges, but end up with “car theft.” If you think I'm kidding, you're wrong!
I'm talking about the indictment the Ankara 2nd High Criminal Court recently accepted. In the indictment prepared by the Bureau of Crimes Against Constitutional Order at the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, it was claimed that the defendants had committed the crimes with which they are charged with "in order to prevent the organization of which they are members from being neutralized and purged from the state, to give the impression that the state is in need of the members of the 'parallel state' [a term frequently used by government officials about the Hizmet movement] to prove that recently appointed state officials are incompetent, to take revenge on the government and to show that recently appointed public officials will be unable to combat crime syndicates sufficiently." In a country where a director of public security gets his cellphone stolen by bag-snatchers and terrorists whose photos were published in papers can freely raid courthouses or open fire in a courthouse, is there any extra effort needed to commit the above-mentioned crime of "giving the impression that recently appointed public officials are incompetent”?
This tragicomic reasoning reminded me of an equally funny incident related years ago by famed Turkish actor Cüneyt Arkın. In one film, Arkın escapes from prison. As he is running away, he bumps into a prison guard, sending him to one side and his hat to the other. Then, public authorities censored the film on charges of "giving the impression that public officials are incompetent." What is the difference?
Even the incident in question occurred in bizarre way. They stole and sold the police car parked in front of the house of a police officer. Thus, they conducted a "terrorist act by portraying the state as incompetent"! Who carried out this act? The police officer's colleagues who had the spare key, i.e., the people who were already authorized to use the car. The only piece of evidence for this act is the call made from a payphone by an unidentified person. However, it is known that the complainant police officer had delivered the car to the mafia upon threats.
A brief search on the Internet reveals the activities of a person called Kadir İnan. So what shows that the people who are made part of this gang are members of the so-called “parallel structure”? It is a CD containing sermons and the reasoning by the public prosecutor. The reasoning of the prosecutor is as follows: "The defendant worked at all critical missions of the National Police Department and [Seyit] Akşit ... couldn't conduct the surveillance if he wasn't a member of this structure." However, many people who were working at the Intelligence Unit were later promoted. The most extreme example is Engin Dinç, the head of the intelligence unit. Based on this unique manner of reasoning, everyone who was working at that department at that time, including Dinç, must be sent to jail.
The following sentence from the indictment means that the prosecutor refutes not only himself but also the entire judicial system: "The only body authorized to decide if any organization is a terrorist organization is the Terrorism Unit of the National Police Department." If this is the case, then we must shut down courts so that the Financial Crimes Unit can decide if an act is corruption or the Smuggling Unit should decide if someone is a smuggler and so on. In this way, we can build shopping malls in place of courthouses. In particular, the İstanbul Courthouse may be given to Mehmet Cengiz.
The weird judicial practices are not restricted to these. Three benefactors aged 90, 77 and 73, respectively, who were executives of an association building a mosque in Sincan, have been detained. They are charged with building mosques, complexes and imam-hatip schools. The municipal council had changed the zoning. An investigation was conducted into the members of the municipal council and they were found not guilty. But those who built a mosque and an imam-hatip school after that zoning change were detained. Someone is offended when we liken the current process to the post-modern coup of Feb. 28, 1997.
Published on Today's Zaman, 10 April 2015, Friday