July 20, 2015

If you are still capable of feeling ashamed

Ekrem Dumanlı

Lies are being exposed one by one. But, your insolence is beyond limits. Everything is being done to make people not remember the libel and slanderous remarks made in the past. But those slanderous remarks can hardly be forgotten. The public was witness to everything that took place. Lies were told; libel was committed; accusations were made and certain groups were even accused of being traitors, spies, etc. Now, this black propaganda campaign is failing. Examples are abundant. Here are just a few:

When the audio recording of a top-secret meeting held at the Foreign Ministry was leaked to the Internet, then-Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu directly accused the “parallel structure” -- a veiled reference to members of the Hizmet movement inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen -- of being behind the leak. Pro-government columnists added extra fuel to the witch hunt. Evidence? They didn't need any evidence, as the man-hunters had already made up their minds. But they have been unable to prove their charges. Meanwhile, it has been said that the meeting was in fact wiretapped by the top US spy agency, the National Security Agency (NSA). But our man-hunters didn't pay any heed to these claims.

Some Western countries have admitted that they wiretapped Turkish officials. "Big guns tend to wiretap other countries," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, referring to these statements. He wasn't angry; he didn't shout at them or challenge them. He silently accepted it. And pro-government media outlets were also silent about the claims. Although they were previously willing to commit hate crimes like Nazis over this “parallel state” fallacy, they failed to say a word about those Western countries. They could not bully them.

The “bug” lawsuit has recently been concluded. But has any one of those who were uttering claims about the parallel state felt ashamed? People whose photos they published as though they were criminals were acquitted. The court held that the crimes of espionage, membership in a terrorist organization and treason were not committed. But those who hurled charges at them are now remaining silent. They may even continue to exert pressure on the court to resume their slander. Their guilty conscience will not leave them alone. Everything they do is in vain. They cannot maintain their lies.

Their Kabataş lie -- when it was claimed by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that a headscarved woman and her baby were violently attacked by a group of around 80 protesters at the Kabataş ferry station in İstanbul in early June of 2013 at the height of the Gezi Park protests -- has been exposed. They are working hard to cover up their unlawful stance during the Gezi Park protests. Their conspiracy-centric minds are trying to find ways to resume the parallel state fallacy. The Kabataş scandal has two stages: The period in which the incident allegedly happened and the period in which it was exposed to daylight. In the first period, any sane person would ask for an investigation into the incident and the punishment of the assailants. But the evidential images related to the incident were examined and witnesses were heard and it became clear that no attack occurred. Then, any honorable person has to ask, "Who deceived us?" He who used that lie to his own advantage is obvious. We also know who the yes-men were...

Furthermore, we also know who refrained from seeking peace during the Gezi Park protests. But certain people of low caliber continue to maintain their fallacies despite these obvious facts. What do they say? They say that “parallel” police officers did it. Should we take this as a joke or irony? Should we just accept this insult to our intelligence and memory? Here, I should give two reminders to these little men.

Here is what former Prime Minister Erdoğan said in Erzurum on June 23, 2013: "This is what I said to the interior minister: You will clear the Atatürk Cultural Center [AKM] in 24 hours. You will clear the square and the [area around the] monument. You will clear Gezi Park [of the protesters]. 'Who gave the order to the police?' they ask. It was I who gave it. Or should we just sit and watch occupation forces?"

That said, can we expect them to act honorably? In addition, the then-interior minister said the following to a well-known businessman on the phone: "I don't know what's being done or what has been abandoned. I cannot say anything that would clash with the instructions of the prime minister. The prime minister instructed my men not to allow them [protesters] there. So they are spraying them with tear gas."

The most contemptible liar is the one who tells obvious lies while looking into the eyes of the people. A frequent liar knows no sacred value and is capable of doing all sorts of evil. Fortunately, the truth cannot be kept hidden forever and the mask will fall from the face of liars. In the meantime, ordinary citizens were misled by those seemingly trustworthy people who talked for hours on TV about the incident. Those intellectuals who were misguided about the matter should be called on to be fair. Those people who long ago lost their capability to be ashamed or act honorably cannot be expected to backpedal from their position. So we can do nothing but feel sorry for them...

Are you a bandit?

The Constitutional Court eventually canceled the bill that abolished prep schools. It is an important decision, albeit belated. Everyone knows that shutting down prep schools was a breach of the Constitution. It was meaningless; it was wrong; it was cruel. It went against fairness. "I asked three ministers to do it, but they failed," Erdoğan said. But eventually he made then-Minister of Education Nabi Avcı implement the ban at the expense of undermining Avcı's intellectual prestige. It sought to take revenge; it wasn't natural or normal. If it were right, former ministers Hüseyin Çelik, Ömer Dinçer, or Nimet Baş would have already implemented this special request.

Anyway... The court made its decision and the matter is over. Yet, pro-government media outlets (and some Justice and Development Party [AKP] deputies) have started to say that the decision is wrong and threaten the members of the court. Three members of the court were appointed by former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Two were appointed by Erdoğan. Others were appointed by former President Abdullah Gül. So? Pro-government columnists are misguided in this regard. They don't have to stick to the parallel fallacy to put pressure on people. The logical option is the right one.

The pro-AKP spin doctors seem to have adopted the following strategy. If they are not happy with any court decision, they say that it is null and void and try to discredit those who made that decision. Thus, when members of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) are to be elected, they say, "This election is invalid if it does not produce results favorable to us." If the results are favorable to them, they say that the rule of law is in place. If not, they know no law. This same applies to the court decision to release Samanyolu Broadcasting Group CEO Hidayet Karaca and some police chiefs from jail. The conceited politicians who didn't like the decision harshly criticized the judges and even made pro-government judges arrest them. It also applies to the interception of the Syria-bound trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT)...

So they treat any favorable decision as lawful and any unfavorable decision as unlawful. This system is nothing but the system of banditry. If everyone can be assured of the enforcement of their rights, then we would not need to seek justice in the courts. If the powerful set the rules, this can hardly be defined as democracy or the rule of law. If you bully courts and pressure them to pass decisions favorable to you, this is nothing but a feudal system. Then everyone will ask: Who are you? Are you a bandit?


Some political actors now prefer silence. Those who were strongly warned in the June 7 election have to remain silent for a long time. There was nothing to do because the people were uncomfortable with their poisonous language and aggressive attitude. The people responded strongly to their policies of polarization and alienation. They have never referred to the parallel state allegation since then. They also did not attack the Republican People's Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), arguing that they were illegal actors that seem to be legal. However, it seems that they are not comfortable with that. They began relying on the same parallel state allegations; then they insulted the political parties. Could this be done for a while? Yes. But if they keep relying on this language and style, the people will respond more strongly. You should know this.

We need to give credit to the CHP. This party has raised an objection to antidemocratic laws and practices in recent times. They took a number of fascist and oppressive laws to the constitutional court, including the one that imposed a state monopoly over Risale Nurs (Epistles of Light). Likewise, they also stood against the antidemocratic law that shut down the private study houses. They assumed a pretty important role by proving that laws cannot be made arbitrarily. Now there are laws that all parties are against. I hope that the democratic stance in the legislative term before the previous one will be repeated and they will prove that nobody is unquestionable.

What does the joy in Iran mean? Turkey needs to offer an answer to this question. Iran has taken diplomatic steps vis-à-vis longstanding embargoes. In the end, they offered a model consistent with the international community. Iran made bold moves while Turkey preferred precious loneliness to submit to corruption. Iran promised a new future for its people by making a deal with the West and dealt with corruption. And now the Iranian people express their joy on the streets. Interestingly, some attempted to create an intelligence state and praised the Shanghai cooperation organization; but Iran is trying to become the old Turkey. It is really interesting to see that Turkey wants to become the old Iran.

Published on Today's Zaman, 20 July 2015, Monday