How much more do I owe the ECHR?
BELGİN AKALTAN – email@example.com
REUTERS PhotoEarlier this month, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) fined Turkey 2.3 million euros. This time it was military planes bombing two Kurdish villages. Turkey was ordered to pay this amount to 38 people who lost more than 30 relatives in bombardment by Turkish military aircraft in the southeastern province of Şırnak in March 1994.
The court found that Turkey had violated the articles on the right to life, prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment (because the villagers had been forced to witness the deaths of their relatives and the destruction of their homes, and were not provided with even a minimum of humanitarian aid to deal with the aftermath of the attack) and that Turkey failed to properly investigate the attack.
How many more millions of euros in fines is Turkey going to pay, I wonder, before it teaches its officials what the right to life means, why inhuman treatment is prohibited and how to investigate things properly?
How long are we going to keep on paying? I guess forever if this mentality does not change…
What is my share in this horrible attack of bombing one’s own village at a time of peace? Why should my country become 2.3 million euros poorer because, because… Well, I can’t find the right words. I don’t know the reason… Because of poor military conduct, poor civilian conduct, poor souls, a lack of political will, decades of indoctrination? Carefully veiled racism? Or is it a gene that seems to be present in all Turks, the one that automatically “protects the murderer” and maybe certain kinds of mass killings?
Oh God, how similar is this bombing in 1994 to Roboski in 2011? How many millions of euros can compensate for the sorrows of the mothers of Uludere?
My point is why should I suffer or how long should I be suffering for the mistakes of others? First, I suffer financially, because my country’s resources are trimmed. Which is nothing compared to the shame of living in the same country with people who bless this mentality of bombing villages and covering up the crimes of village bombers.
I had no contribution in this atrocity, just as I have no share in the “legendary” tortures and killings at the Diyarbakır Prison during the Sept. 12 coup era, one example of which was when a military doctor spread tuberculosis by adding the saliva of infected prisoners into the food prepared in the kitchen. Why should I share the consequences of this and similar horrifying crimes?
I am an ordinary citizen, paying my taxes. I want to pay less tax, about 2.3 million euros less. I want to have better infrastructure in my city. I want better city planning and a better trained police force. With 2.3 million euros and God knows how much more, I could have better schools, better teachers, better hospitals, better tunnels…
The horrible deaths and tortures at Diyarbakır Prison at that time are said to be the reason the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) prospered. By a rough calculation, I’m saying there were maybe 50 or 200 officers there at Diyarbakır Prison at that time who systematically tortured and caused the death of Kurdish and political prisoners. I want these officers to pay the ECHR fines.
In our country, it seems like it’s impossible to find the offenders. The sadistic actions of certain officers came back to haunt us in the form of bullets in the heads of our sons or bombs in the trashcans or buses of our big cities. However, we are still unable to find, analyze and punish the instigators. What is preventing us? The aforementioned “protecting the killer” gene?
We not only “don’t find” and “cover up for” them, we also reward them.
That renowned military doctor who many ex-prisoners identified, about whom many stories have been published in the press, the one who infected other prisoners, causing the death of dozens because of the same disease, is the founder of a chain of hospitals in Ankara. I think he sold them and went to live in the United States.
How on earth has this kind of rumor, this kind of horrific claim, been left unsettled at this stage? Why do we not know what happened to him? Where is he? Can it be true that he is living happily in the U.S.?
Am I naïve to ask these questions? The Turkish gene for “protecting the murderer” and sometimes “mass murderers” comes out from the dark and spreads like an epidemic at certain times. Let’s talk about this more thoroughly later…
I have a word for the ECHR also: Ordering a country to pay 2.3 million euros for bombing two villages in 1994… Guys, that does not seem to solve anything. It does not teach the offenders not to do it again nor does it activate a self-correcting mechanism. We just pay the fine and they continue violating …
Maybe the ECHR can think of a better enforcement. It should not be the honest, tax-paying, innocent citizens that suffer from the sadistic, ill, perverted, wrong-minded acts of others or because justice has not been served in Turkey.
We know from daily Hürriyet writer Sedat Ergin’s columns that within the framework of justice reform, there will be measures for those judges and prosecutors to share in paying the fine imposed by the ECHR because of their faults.
Finally. That is one good step. But a voice deep inside me whispers that these guys will find a way to escape this, too…
Really, I don’t deserve to be living in such a set-up.
Our “lonely and beautiful country which we love passionately” is in this situation, being ordered to pay millions of euros of fines to its citizens for shameful wrongdoings, because of a staff sergeant with an inferiority complex, a crooked general, a wacky teacher, a sadistic doctor, a prison guardian, or a teenager from the Black Sea province of Trabzon poisoned with extremely nationalistic ideas…
I’m not trying to escape any of my responsibilities, if I have any; but, I am absolutely not guilty in any of these ECHR cases. Nonetheless, the money is coming from my pocket. Not from the offenders.
Stop. Wait. One minute!
It just occurred to me. I wonder if I can use my right of individual complaint to the ECHR to sue my country for being unlawful, for being subject to too many fines, for not being able to correct itself, for being overprotective of its civil servants who have committed crimes against citizens, for embarrassing me, for obliging me to live in a such a country which could be made so much better, for wasting state funds…
Hey, let me think about this and get back to you…