December 22, 2014

The road to North Korea

Adem Yavuz Arslan

Everybody knows what is going on.

Scrambling to cover up the scandal revealed by the December 17-25 graft probe, Erdoğan called for the December 14 media coup.

Based on a TV series that ended four years ago, 31 people were detained, among them Samanyolu Media Group Chairman Hidayet Karaca, editor-in-chief of the Zaman Newspaper, Ekrem Dumanlı and some of Turkey’s most accomplished police chiefs.

Facing questions beyond the absurd, they were charged with “terrorist organization membership”. On top of it, Hidayet Karaca, Ekrem Dumanlı and some of the senior police officials were treated cruelly.

There is no need to repeat it and go into the details.

Just as we know from the previous coups, “the powers that got those people there” wanted them to be convicted.

And the expected happened.

Hidayet Karaca was arrested for being member of a terrorist organization, based on a conversation mentioned in a TV series. Ekrem Dumanlı was released pending trial.

Many things may be said or written about the recent judicial scandals and unlawful practices.

However, at the moment there is need to open a window and focus on the main “target”.

Because the actors of the operation, which brought shame on Turkey and will cause long-term damages that will not heal for years, were actually targeting esteemed Fethullah Gülen.

They know very well that no terrorist organization will come out of a TV series, and that Ekrem Dumanlı or Hidayet Karaca are not members of such an organization.

Moreover, Erdoğan personally knows both figures pretty well.

Never mind AKP spokesperson Atalay’s statement, “This has nothing to do with us, it’s the judiciary’s discretion.” Everything proceeds according to the roadmap designed by Erdoğan and the target was Fethullah Gülen.

The operation was designed to reach out directly to Gülen. And the “Ak judiciary” started the process with a file that was hollow.

A red notice for Gülen will pass into history as AKP’s blunder.

The red notice and arrest warrant may be considered as legal phrases, but the real matter here is the political practices.

In other words, an arrest warrant or a demand for a red notice does not mean the demand will be granted.

Erdoğan knows he cannot get Gülen that way.

Moreover, if you apply to the Interpol or the US Department of Justice with a TV series script as evidence, they will simply laugh at you.

Besides, Turkey’s image abroad has gone from bad to worse in the last one year.

In Washington nobody bothers to mention Erdoğan’s name. And if they happen to mention him, it is in a bad sense. Roughly 20 Congress members wrote a letter to Obama and Kerry, and they made a press statement, condemning Erdoğan.

It’s not something you would encounter ordinarily.

In the US capital, the Congress Turkish-American Friendship Association’s (a group with close ties to Turkey) co-chairpersons made a joint press statement where they strongly responded to Erdoğan.

As for the media’s responses, they were much stronger.

The New York Times’ editorial described Erdoğan as a “despotic leader who lives in a parallel universe” – a title few politicians would be honored with.

Hence, it doesn’t seem possible that a demand against esteemed Gülen would be taken seriously, both because of the file’s flimsiness, and the negative impression Erdoğan has created in the USA. At most, the local prosecutor will take testimony, which is what happened in the February 28 period.

Both Erdoğan and his oligarchs are well aware of this.

And they will go on with their perception operations, making references to the “organization leader” whenever they speak, issuing condemnations that he wasn’t “turned in”.

They know that especially the United States needs Turkey because of ISIL and the situation in Iraq.

That is why they will keep on playing the Gülen card. Obama will avoid speaking out on this matter, like he avoids speaking out on all other matters.

In other words, the climate is ripe for Erdoğan to exploit.

And the arrest warrant for Gülen will have no other meaning than passing into history as AKP’s blunder.

At this stage there appears only one way for Erdoğan: to be more authoritarian and oppressive.

He thinks that this is the only way out of the quagmire of corruption and unlawfulness.

Until now, nobody has ever managed to end up for the better, but if Erdoğan succeeds, the “New Turkey” he boasts with will at best become another North Korea.

Because the road he has taken is one-way, with North Korea at the end of it.

Published on BGNNews, 22 December 2014, Monday