Why I am against a witch hunt
The case on Feb. 28 has started a healthy public discussion.
Should this case be restricted to certain boundaries? In other words, should it be restricted to investigation of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) - which was involved in the operation - and the so-called West Working Group (BÇG) that worked under it, or should the case be expanded? By expansion, that would mean trying those civilian segments that applauded Feb. 28 and those who supported. For example, some political party leaders who supported the process, deputies, trade union leaders, nongovernmental organizations, media members and academics would be considered as if they were also involved in the case.
I am against this approach. Because of that, I am harshly criticized by many respectable writers and thinkers. I respect their views but I have important reservations.
Think of those cases in the past that were transformed into witch hunts.
I’m talking about those cases of May 27, March 12, Sept. 12, where hundreds of defendants were tried for decades. Which one of them do you remember? Which one of them served justice? A large portion of those who were detained as defendants were acquitted, nobody knows that aspect. They was forgotten. What was left behind was only pain and more hostilities.
If these people committed a concrete crime, then they should be tried; however, detaining them and making them suffer in court just because they supported something will only increase the polarization in the society, nothing else.
I was also hurt a lot in that period. I cannot forget the colleagues and also political leaders who caused me a lot of pain. Especially those who acted like spokespersons of the military, who scorned me, who tried to destroy those colleagues like me who thought differently. These figures are still there. Moreover, they still talk big.
Despite all this, I am still against a “witch hunt.”
By looking at cases such as Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer), doesn’t it explain what I’m trying to say?
The extremities seen in these cases, the unlawful practices, detentions that resemble a witch hunt; didn’t they open a wound in the society’s conscience? The real perpetrators, taking advantage of this situation, haven’t they reached the point where they are able to save themselves? Feb. 28 was repression; it was the clash of one view of the world with another. It was the reflection of a non-sharing stance that said: “It has to be my way.”
I prefer a case that ends rapidly, and is restricted to those directly responsible, instead of a case with hundreds of defendants, whose end is not seen, and which would not leave a mark.
It should not be a crime to support Feb. 28
Now, the other side of the coin: I’m not talking about those who have committed crimes, who have personally participated in the conspiracy, who have - beyond support - actually contributed to the plans to topple the government. They should be tried.
However, there are many who have supported Feb. 28 as an idea. Taking them to court is contrary to my understanding of “freedom of thought.”
Why should a journalist not support the idea of Feb. 28 with his or her writing? Why should a politician not provide the same support?
If this is a democracy, it we have “freedom of expression,” then why should they not express their opinion?