Twice an injustice
It is a horrible feeling to know that a dangerous terrorist had successfully infiltrated into the military top brass for several years, disguised himself as head of the armed forces, won Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s confidence and had access to top secret state documents.
It is equally horrible to know that several other terrorists had disguised themselves as members of the top brass, ran our universities and even joined the ranks of our profession as respected journalists. God saved Turkey from a disaster!
With the historic court verdict on the Ergenekon case, these terrorists have been doomed to rot in Turkish dungeons while their Kurdish colleagues run free despite the nearly 40,000 Turkish and Kurdish gravestones they dug. This, despite Turkey’s daily absurdities, is a narrative the government will never be able to sell to a majority of Turks regardless of which nice gift box it chooses and engraves it with the word “justice.” Perhaps Islamist justice, but not justice as we know the word.
The verdict will inevitably mark the beginning of what will evolve as the “Turkish problem,” ironically at a time when the government believes that it is half way into resolving the Kurdish problem.
In times like this one cannot help but recall. This is a line from this column on Sept. 11, 2009: “Freedom and a red-carpet welcome to PKK men and courtroom torment for men with badges of honor for fighting the PKK men ... will be a product too difficult to sell in these lands.”
And this is from “The Turkish Problem,” also this column, on Oct. 27, 2009: “No harm if we twist and bend the law in favor of people who, until recently, were Kurdish terrorists… So any smart Ergenekon suspect should confess he is a terrorist, but a terrorist of the PKK, and then walk out of prosecution right away…”
And I asked quite recently (1,397 days ago, in this column): “Peace with Kurds cannot be won if there are a lot of angry Turks… We do not want to have a ‘Turkish problem’ after all, do we?”
But hats off to the Turkish judiciary. It has never deviated from a stubbornly consistent line: In the past, its injustice landed onto devout, conservative and Islamist Turks in the name of siding with the dominant state ideology that was Kemalism. Today the same gross injustice lands onto the Kemalists in the name of siding with the dominant state ideology that is Islamism. All too fair in perfect unfairness.
Recently a senior judge explained the whole equation which, unsurprisingly, is the reality behind Ergenekon: “During the Feb. 28 (post-modern coup) process it was easy for the judiciary to protect the rights of the seculars; and difficult to protect the rights of the devout. Now it is easy to protect the rights of the devout, and not so easy to protect the rights of the Kemalists.” (Ali Ulusoy, member of the Council of State).
When will the Turks learn that an injustice twice does not make justice? Perhaps never, since the revengeful Islamist justice is already sowing the seeds of revengeful anti-Islamist justice in the future.
A quick research will produce hundreds of cliché statements from the 1990s in which governments defended pro-Kemalist injustice with the words “oh-but-the-judiciary-is-independent-and-we-must-respect-court-verdicts-whether-we-like-them-or-not;” while the victims of injustice just decried injustice. No one could prove hints of invisible state interference in the courtroom.
Nothing seems to have changed since then. After Monday’s Ergenekon verdict, government bigwigs queued up to tell cameras “oh-but-the-judiciary-is-independent-and-we-must-respect-court-verdicts-whether-we-like-them-or-not.” And, of course, no one could prove the Ergenekon verdict was not free of any political influence.
Just like in Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s famous novel “The Leopard (Il Gattopardo),” which follows the family of its title character, Sicilian nobleman Don Fabrizio Corbera through the events of the “Risorgimento” (Italian unification). Undoubtedly, one of the most memorable lines in the book is spoken by Don Fabrizio’s nephew, Tancredi, urging unsuccessfully that Don Fabrizio abandon his allegiance to the disintegrating Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and to ally himself with Giuseppe Garibaldi and the House of Savoy: “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”