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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND

mab@hurriyet.com.tr

MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > Did you understand the last amendment?

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We have been complaining about the specially authorized courts for some time. Finally, the government has joined in the complaints and made a series of changes. I have been reading to find out what has happened and what has been changed; I don’t understand anything. 

I have been asking those who have understood or claim to have understood, and they do not seem to know anything either. 

Well, who has understood what? What happened? 

The only concrete result is Aziz Yıldırım’s release. And it is not certain whether that release was a result of this amendment. 

What will happen to the rest of the arrested? Will they continue to live in jail? Will the attitudes of the prosecutors and judges actually change? 

More questions: Why were these special courts formed over time? Why were they transformed to their present status? If they were necessary, then why are they being removed? If they are not removed, then what does the latest change mean? 

Now, we will await the decisions courts will make. Every step taken in the coming weeks will set a precedent. A new order will be formed. 

It is hard to talk about justice being served nowadays. 

Al-Assad seems very self-confident 

I have highlighted the important parts of the Bashar al-Assad interview in daily Cumhuriyet. 

We should definitely share these. Regardless of whether or not we agree with what he said, listening to the Syrian leader and discussing his views is an essential component of democracy and freedom of expression. Of course, he will be making his own propaganda and express his own views, so long as they are consistent. Thanks to daily Cumhuriyet for publishing this interview, so that we could learn about al-Assad. 

Before anything else, I noticed the self-assured tone of the Syrian leader. When looked at from outside, he seemed like a person living his last moments. Because of the pumping of the Western media, an impression has been created that he will fall tomorrow or the next day, whereas he has the duo of Russia and China behind him and has a guarantee against a possible U.N. Security Council resolution. 

This equilibrium will last until the U.S. elections in November. After that, it depends on the pace and dose of the domestic uprising. If the domestic turmoil increases, then the support from Russia, China or Iran will not mean much. Some of our people here who predicted that the Syrian leader only has five to six months to go have now increased this deadline to one to two years. Again, no one is in a position to make a prediction. 

Another part of the interview worthy of attention was the examples al-Assad gave when he was describing Turkey’s Sunni-Shiite discrimination. Al-Assad views the situation differently. Actually none of us could handle the tremor that would be created by an ethnic war in the region.

Another factor al-Assad was paying attention to was that he did not use offensive words about [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan. Actually he was very careful in selecting his words. The words he chose in order not to provoke Turkey were interesting. He still hopes there are some things left that could be saved. 

Even though I was defined as an “embedded journalist,” I should give them credit that his interview was just in time and it was necessary.

July/05/2012

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