October 11, 2015

Politicians need to take responsibility

Erhan Başyurt

Turkey seems to have entered a dark tunnel where both freedoms and security are being compromised.

Since the June 7th elections: security officers are being killed, while civilians being shot during curfews...

Mass killings have occured in Diyarbakır, Suruç, and now, in Ankara…

Yesterday, Turkey witnessed the greatest terrorist attack in our history; and in the center of the country's capital.

A peace rally was cut short in a bloodbath.

The message was: we don’t want “peace” in Turkey.

Intelligence flaws and security lapses have reached intolerable limits.

Despite undemocratic measures like the “security packages” and the concept of “reasonable doubt”, which estranged Turkey from the free world, we have no safety.

The reason is that the state apparatus has been practically suspended to cover up the graft and espionage probes following the December 17 and 25 process.

The Counterterror Police Unit (TEM) was sent to hunt for “bombs” in nursery schools and to monitor cartoon heroes in the search for an “imaginary terrorist organization”.

Experienced intelligence officers were either arrested, removed, or downgraded as traffic police…

And here we are. Administrative defects and authority vacuum provided plenty of elbow room for terrorist organizations.

What is more interesting is that those who failed to prevent the attacks or find the aggressors never left their posts.

In response to questions whether he would “resign”, the minister smiled on live broadcast yesterday; in the same vein, decision-makers have never taken responsibility in this country…

The arrest of Bülent Keneş is a clear sign of oppression

The “dark tunnel” that Turkey has entered affects the media too.

And that is perhaps even more so, because the media is burdened with the duty “to protect the public’s interests and supervise public activities”.

Censorship, investigations against press staff and sentences have become the order of the day.

For months now, there are journalists in prison without any court decision; and they are there for tweets they posted or columns they wrote, for a word that occurs in a fictional script that was written by others, for disclosing a coup, for objecting to corruption…

Now, another person has joined the band of sufferers: Today’s Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş.

In a chain of legal wrongdoings, he has been arrested without trial, without even a bill of indictment, for publishing the CHP leader’s statement.

Keneş is one of Turkey’s best journalists and is well informed… He is both friendly and candid as an individual…

His arrest without trial for a tweet is a clearly outrageous and a shame for those who are responsible for ensuring fair governance…

It is a requirement of universal law that Bülent Keneş, Hidayet Karaca, Mehmet Baransu and Gültekin Avcı, who have been taken into “closed prisons” in a country that has become an “open prison” for journalists, be released pending trial.

Published on BGNNews, 10 October 2015, Saturday