Political immunity, the Turkish style
Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is accused of being involved in a corruption case by granting state tenders to a family friend/businessman in road building contracts. During the trial in Buenos Aires, the federal judge decided to freeze Kirchner’s assets worth $633 million. Well, of course, the rule of law functions there, the judges are able to decide independently.
Now, let us see what would happen if such a thing occurs in our presidential system. It would not happen, but let us assume that a greedy politician succeeded in tricking the nation and has been elected as president.
He then granted all state tenders to his supporter businessmen and he took bribes. This would also never happen, but let us assume that this was disclosed. With the amendments made to the Turkish constitution, regardless of whether the president is on duty or has finished his term, he would not be able to be taken to court immediately. First, the parliament would have to decide on opening an investigation against him.
For this to happen, three-fifths of the deputies would have to vote in favor of an investigation. Since the parliament has 600 seats, there needs to be at least 360 votes.
Not only this, but also, regardless of the president currently serving or having finished his term, he would have to be tried at the Supreme Council, which is the name the Constitutional Court takes when it tries ministers and senior members of the judiciary, and for this, two-thirds of the majority votes in parliament are required. In other words, 400 votes are needed.
Let us assume this many votes were gathered and the president was to be tried at the Supreme Court.
Who is the person electing the constitutional court that eventually becomes the Supreme Council? The president, he will be selecting 12 members of the 15-member constitutional court. The remaining three members will be selected by parliament. When such a court is prosecuting the president, can it be independent and impartial? Due to this situation, it is inevitable that once a person is elected as president, to obtain a life-long immunity. It is a similar situation to the life-long non-liability immunity that Kenan Evren, the leader of the 1980 coup, and his council buddies granted to themselves.
I would like to remind deputies voting for the constitutional amendments in parliament that there is no possibility that every future president will be an honest one. For this reason; laws and constitutions are not written for one particular person.
Did you ever think of this?
Two key men should be interrogated
Members of the parliamentary commission from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that have been formed to research the attempted coup on July 15 have sent certain questions to General Hulusi Akar and retired General Necdet Özel.
They also asked certain questions to former President Abdullah Gül before, however, we do not know what the answers were.
But the commission is insistently skipping the most important link in this business. The roles of two people in failing to prevent this coup attempt are critical; the first one is the Chief of General Staff and the second one is the Undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
Tipoffs were sent to MİT one after the other, they scheduled a meeting, they held meetings, but as a result of these meetings, no decision such as “We are face-to-face with a coup attempt,” had emerged.
Let us assume that Major Akar had a tipoff not about the coup attempt but about the kidnapping of the MİT Undersecretary at midnight from his home.
Is it difficult to visualize why the soldiers who kidnapped the MİT Undersecretary with three helicopters would do it? They wouldn’t have been asking for ransom, would they?
This was an open sign for an insurrection and the Chief of General Staff and the Undersecretary of MİT were not able to understand it. Because they failed to understand it, 248 people lost their lives by the coup plotters’ bullets.
Shouldn’t the MİT Undersecretary be asked why he kept this information from the president and from the prime minister for hours? What has happened at the Headquarters of the General Staff and MİT during those lost five hours and 45 minutes? Which thoughts and orders to prevent the coup attempt were not given and which measures were not taken?
Isn’t this an important security issue that in such a matter, one of the persons who failed to correctly evaluate the intelligence that had arrived is the Chief of General Staff and the other is the Undersecretary of the MİT?
If the commission is truly investigating this business, then the first questions that need to be answered are these. The rest is only unimportant detail. Well, of course, if the commission feels the slightest bit of responsibility for the lives martyred on July 15.