Dear justice, come back home…
How is it possible that everyone, every single person, is complaining about the justice system in Turkey at the moment?
Look at what Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said last week: “There is a trouble in our justice system. We cannot go anywhere with such a justice system.”
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli, and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş all referred to the distorted state of law and justice in their parliamentary group meetings this week. Both lawmakers and lawbreakers are complaining; the arrested and the released are complaining; those who need justice and those who are fearfully avoiding it are complaining.
This is the state of our “beautiful and egalitarian” justice system.
Well, who needs this justice?
President Erdoğan was asking for justice at the U.N. in his speech mentioned above. But at the same time in Turkey TV channels, radio stations, and newspapers are being closed down; justice is needed for journalists.
Prime Minister Yıldırım demanded a speeding up of the justice system and announced the formation of specialized courts. But justice is needed for the imprisoned Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, Ahmet Altan and Ahmet Turan Alkan, who are all accused of “writing and being a member of the editorial board” with “strong subliminal message suspicion.”
In 2016, by the end of September a total of 1,421 workers had lost their lives in “preventable” work accidents in Turkey. In September alone, 141 workers were killed, 10 of them women, four of them children, two of them child workers under 14.
Justice is needed for the dead worker, the living worker and the injured worker. But will they ever be able to seek justice, question it, and find it?
Take the example of Cemal Bilgin, a caregiver who is also a representative of a union at Istanbul’s Çapa Medical School Hospital. He was fired from his job after protesting about the poisoning of 50 workers and the friends and relatives of patients by the meal provided by the hospital.
Take the example of the Tokat Dimteks workers who have not been able to receive their salaries for two months: Their factory was recently taken over by a state-appointed trustee.
Take the example of Semavi Güneş, a father of two, who lost his life because of a stolen manhole cover. The Istanbul authorities had not replaced the stolen cover despite the fact it had been reported. “A manhole cover worth 7 Turkish Liras caused my brother’s death. We will do everything we can to make sure those responsible are punished legally,” his brother said at his funeral.
Do you think the Güneş family will find justice? Do you think this system - which frees the pervert, the abuser, the murderer due to “good conduct” but jails the writer, the reporter, the artist and the poor - can be recovered?
“Previously confidence in the justice system in Turkey never dropped below 60 percent. But now it has fallen to 20 percent,” Ramazan Kaya, an Ankara prosecutor who is now a member of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), said back in 2014.
We could perhaps make up a new riddle: “What is the thing that everybody - from the president to the brother of the worker who died in a work-related accident - is seeking but not able to find.” We are now in such a position that we could accept the answer “justice” as correct.
Dear justice, come back home. Everyone is worried about you…