September 22, 2015

You cannot win this war

Faruk Mercan

Is there anyone who still fails to see that the issue is not only about the Hizmet Movement?

Can there be anyone who still says, “The Hizmet Movement had overstepped the limits anyway. Let them get some beating while we look on”?

I don’t think there is.

Investigations have been launched against journalist Hasan Cemal and journalist and writer Ahmet Altan. Both are charged with insulting the person in the Palace. Not only intellectuals and writers, but relatives of killed soldiers wailing for their loss at funerals, ordinary citizens who tweet or retweet messages are also taken into custody and arrested on similar charges.

As I glanced through news reports yesterday before writing this piece, I learned that a 37-year-old bicycle mechanic from Samsun was taken into custody on charges of insulting the person in the Palace.

Also, a second investigation was launched against Ahmet Altan yesterday – on the same charges.

“BUGÜN” daily columnist Gültekin Avcı was arrested on charges of attempting to overthrow the government in seven columns he had written. Previously, Ekrem Dumanlı, Editor-in-Chief of the Zaman daily, had been detained over similar charges based on “two columns and a report that appeared in the daily.”

Again, Can Dündar, Editor-in-Chief of the Cumhuriyet daily, had faced a criminal investigation over the same charges.

Hürriyet daily columnist Ertuğrul Özkök has recently faced a similar investigation and went on leave.

Mass silencing attempt

In other words, the issue has already ceased to be a witch-hunt against the
Hizmet Movement and turned into an operation intended to “silence” the entire country.

Where else in the world, a journalist is taken into custody and eventually arrested for the pieces he wrote, on charges of attempting to overthrow the government and being a member of a terrorist organization?

In those Baath regimes that emerged out of the caves of the Middle East and in former Communist regimes. And also in some Latin American and African countries that are governed by a junta.

Today’s Turkey has similarly moved away from democracy and democratic values.

We are faced with a political clique that continues to use all the privileges of power to silence opponents, mobilizing the judiciary and the police to carry out this task although it fell from power after the June elections.

Though they themselves have virtually paved the way for the escalation of terror in the country to such a degree, they hold rallies and say, “Put us back into power, for terror will end only if we come to power alone.”

Supposedly, they will deceive people claiming “A power-sharing government is in charge. We do not rule the country alone.”

Had there been a second political cadre in our political history that waged such an extensive war on journalists, writers, intellectuals and artists of all stripes, declaring all their opponents enemy and applying “enemy law” to them? No!

Even Kenan Evren didn’t go that far

There were some investigations and arrests only after the military coups of 12 March 1971 and 12 Sept. 1980.

For example, were criminal investigations launched against so many intellectuals, writers, and citizens for insulting General Kenan Evren, the leader of the 12 Sept. 1980 coup? No.

Yes, dear journalists, intellectuals and artists who say “But people linked with the Hizmet Movement have oppressed us much in the past,” the issue has already ceased to be about the Hizmet Movement. It’s no use burying your head in the sand. One day they may take you away as well.

Wake up dear journalists, intellectuals and artists who say “Let them [members of Hizmet Movement] get some beating.” The issue is not about the Hizmet Movement anymore. Our democratic gains, which have been achieved over the past 90 years despite many challenges, are destroyed one after another.

A final word to the person in the Palace and to those participating in these “silencing” operations: No cadre that had waged a war on intellectuals, writers and artists in a country could ever succeed. Just have a look at the history.

Published on BGNNews, 22 September 2015, Tuesday