A different voice this time from the EU Parliament

A different voice this time from the EU Parliament

The European Union Parliament’s annual “Progress Report” on Turkey was approved March 29. There are significant changes when compared to previous ones. For the first time, the views of almost all groups are included. I can summarize the most important topics as such: 

The most significant emphasis in the report is on the topics of judicial reform and freedom of press. If the last package of the Justice Ministry had not been published and if journalists Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık had not been released, then all hell would have broken loose. These two developments have softened the Parliament. 

The European Parliament up to now had supported the Ergenekon case and emphasized that this was an important step on the road to democracy. This support still continues but it is being stated that the practice of justice was not conducted lawfully, and alarm bells were ringing. 

The topic of arrested journalists has also received harsh criticism. Nothing else would have been expected anyway.

For the first time, no bill whatsoever was submitted on the “Armenian Genocide.” Whereas, at other times, one of the groups would always have backed the Armenians. 

In the report, it is emphasized that Turkey is becoming an important power and an international actor in the region. The discomfort felt because of the deadlock in EU accession talks were mentioned. Also, for the first time, there have been criticisms that some negotiation chapters on Cyprus are deadlocked.

Even though the EU Parliament reports are not as influential as they used to be, the Parliament is still an effective institution. This development is noteworthy. 

The commanders left their marks 

Last week, hearings for the “Internet Memorandum” and the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) cases were held. In both cases it was the stances of the commanders that left their marks. 

Former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ demonstrated the expected attitude from him. To tell you the truth, this “memorandum” case has never convinced me. I read the indictment from the right, then from the left, but I could not reach a conclusion except for assumptions. The court will absolutely find the truth and reach a verdict that will satisfy the public conscience. 

The most annoying aspect of this case was that a former chief of General Staff was charged with involvement in terror. That aspect harmed the case on the day it was opened. Nobody was ever able to conceive that Başbuğ was charged with leading a terror organization. The accusation that the chief of General Staff, together with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was trying to topple the government was especially hilarious. 

No, these accusations were just not applicable. 

The same situation applies to Ergin Saygun. It is impossible not to be appalled when you see the questions. If you were the second chief of General Staff and came across a question such as, “Did you conduct the synagogue and HSBC building bombings in Istanbul?” you would also jump in your seat. 

The Sledgehammer case is also problematic, especially due to the fact that some of the CDs were proved to be false. Everybody is talking about the incoherencies of the indictment. 

Meanwhile, the extremely important controls and the diet of Saygun, both essential for his heath, have started being neglected. His son’s statement points to a very dangerous course of events. It should not be forgotten that the court is also responsible for the health of those who are in the position of defendants. If something happens to Saygun in such a blatant form, the spiritual load of this would be extremely heavy.

EU, Turkey