|Societies and states, like people, improve themselves through crises. Crises help the system -- which has reached an impasse regarding certain matters and cannot produce solutions because of a lack of change in the paradigm -- to refresh itself, leaving no alternative route for progress.|
The recent graft probe and judicial crisis in Turkey are such a mechanism. Many people believe that the first operation, which led to the resignation or removal from office of three ministers, and the second operation, which could not be carried out and seems to have targeted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's close circle, are not merely a "judicial investigation," but aim to redesign the political scene.
It is a serious problem that the judiciary and police department have separated from each other in the face of the operations. As far as I can see, no one is arguing that the corruption claims shouldn't be investigated. Corruption is a problem in any country, around the world, and the presence of an independent judiciary is the greatest assurance in combat against corruption. Society strongly disapproves of corruption.
However, the judiciary's methods, which cast a shadow on the corruption claims, raise suspicions in countries such as Turkey where the judiciary is still ideologically motivated and has distorted laws in the past to lend support to coups. In other words, two prosecutors and one deputy prosecutor acted without informing the chief public prosecutor, launching an investigation they knew would disrupt the country's economy and political scene. They used all the evidence-collecting methods available to the police, they combined three files into one, and numerous evidential documents were leaked to the press. All this gives the impression that there is a political operation against the government.
It is as if the people targeted in the second operation were specifically selected to "finish off" the government. According to leaked information, two of the prime minister's sons and some owners of big corporations that have undertaken and will undertake mega construction projects in Turkey were targeted. Turkey is a country with experience of coups, and you cannot convince anyone that this is a normal judicial investigation.
Consider this: The chief public prosecutors and five other prosecutors held a meeting about the second operation. They agreed that the file does not fall under the scope of the Counterterrorism Law (TMK). They decided to continue examining the file and make a decision a few days later. However, the next day, one of the prosecutors acted independently, making a court issue an arrest warrant for the prime minister's son on charges of establishing and being a member of a terrorist organization, citing the TMK.
When the prosecutor was prevented from moving forward, he distributed a press release to the media in front of the courthouse and complained about his superior. The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) bypassed the head of the Board to make a public statement in support of the prosecutor. The HSYK does not have the authority to make such public statements.
These are not normal developments. This attitude is not something that can be explained by referring to the independence of the judiciary or the articles of regulations.
I write columns at Today's Zaman, which is run by the Hizmet movement. But, relying on the latitude afforded to me, I must note that it is wrong for the Hizmet movement to support this operation. The impression that it is lending its full support to the prosecutors, without considering the unusual methods and allegations employed by them, is eliminating the distance between the Hizmet movement and the judiciary's anomalous methods. Its image in the social media indicates very serious partisanship.
"Turkey is a state governed by the rule of law" is an oft-spoken claim. The independence of the judiciary is important. But for what purpose does the judiciary wield this independence: for universal justice, or political engineering? We have grave experience of how the judiciary abused its independence during the 1960, 1980 and 1997 coups as well as the period up until 2010.
Therefore, the Hizmet movement must also emphasize the unorthodoxy of these methods.
This is as important as the government's obligation to combat corruption.
Today's Zaman 29 December 2013