November 19, 2015

How will Europe react to bogeyman practices?

Orhan Kemal Cengiz

Today, one of the most popular pieces of news in Turkey is about a peculiar subject. It reads as follows: “Now, the most frequently asked question in Turkey is about how to become a trustee.”

You may know that another business empire, Kaynak Holding, has been occupied by trustees. This is another big holding that is associated with the Gülen movement. These trustees will soon turn these companies into nothing.

However, there was an element in these trustee appointments that has attracted the attention of the public. These trustees are paid very high salaries; each of the seven trustees will receive TL 105,000 (approximately $30,500) per month.

Well, Turkish society has not paid a lot of attention to the persecution of the owners of these business companies but people are very interested in the high salaries of these trustees. And the result is, “How can I become a trustee” has become the most frequently asked question online.

In my previous article, I said that these trustees have become the bogeymen of our childhoods who destroy everything. Maybe they are more like agents as they appear in the Matrix films. When these “agents” touch a person or a thing, this person or thing assumes their shape and becomes an agent. In our case, when these trustees/agents touch something, this thing loses its original shape and becomes whatever President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan desires. The newspapers these trustees are running have already turned into the mouthpiece of the government and the president.

Well, the psychological torture is unbearable; you have not only lost everything you possess but you also have to endure the fact that these trustees receive incredible high salaries from your properties to create a device that attacks you and violates all the values you believe in.

I believe that these trustee appointments, which seem like they will continue for a long time until they gag all dissenting voices, has brought us to a new level. Turkey is now a country in which property rights are blatantly violated. What I am curious about is how the international community will react to these game-changing, devastating human rights violations in Turkey.

This government has created a closed judicial circle of peace judges from which there is no escape and through which people are arrested easily and their properties confiscated for practically nothing. These practices are gross violations of the fundamental rights and values on which the Council of Europe, the EU and the United Nations are built upon.

Can the EU continue criticizing Turkey as if it is doing bad things but staying within the confines of democracy? Can the Council of Europe turn a blind eye to this devastating denial of property rights? What about the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR); will it continue to seek a formal requirement before bringing cases in front of it, such as exhausting domestic remedies, as if there are any effective domestic remedy remaining in Turkey? Or will Europe turn a blind eye to everything and abandon democrats for the sake of securing a readmission agreement for refuges?

I believe these are the questions whose answers will determine whether we can take any breaths in this country in the near future.

Published on Today's Zaman, 19 November 2015, Thursday