Training the police or a paramilitary force?
The oath taken by women police cadets at the Police Training Center (POMEM) in the Central Anatolian province of Yozgat has been raised in a parliamentary question by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Zeynep Altıok. I watched the oath-taking ceremony on YouTube. Not only in Yozgat, but in other police training centers, there are videos of the same oath being taken.
The oath starts with the basmala, “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.” It continues with pledges to Allah, the Quran, the prophets, the flag and arms. They promise the martyrs that they will sleep comfortably because they will take revenge on their behalf. “Revenge, revenge; let revenge be forever. If we forget, let our blood dry up [three times]. God protect the Turk [three times]. Amen [three times].”
In fact, the official wording of the oath, the one I found on the web, is a pledge to the constitution, to Atatürk’s principles and reforms, to Turkish nationalism as described in the constitution and to the laws of the republic. It promises to serve impartially and be based on equality; respect for human rights; constitutional principles; a national, democratic and secular state, as well as the rule of law.
Apparently, the new text of the oath has unofficially been rewritten to be suitable to the “spirit of the time.”
In the Republic of Turkey, the duty of the police is definite. Within the framework of what the constitution and laws order, their job is to provide security and order, prevent crime and serve as judicial police in the interrogations of prosecutors.
“Taking revenge” is not among them because a modern state of law does not take revenge on anyone. Revenge is a concept seen in primitive tribal orders.
Police take an oath to abide by the constitution and laws and conduct their duties within that framework.
By the way, the Republic of Turkey, according to the constitution, is not only a state of law but at the same time, a secular state. The police of a secular state cannot start their oath with the basmala.
A secular state does not differentiate among its citizens based on their religion and belief; thus it is only normal to have members of other faiths or people with no faith within the police force. Forcing them to take an oath as a member of another faith is both against the European Convention of Human Rights and our constitution.
Are the police training centers training police for the state of law or are they aiming to form a paramilitary organization?
Question your own selves
The expected happened and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) decided to reopen the monitoring procedure for Turkey. From now on, our place in Europe is alongside Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.
The ruling party Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy head of parliamentary group defined the decision as “non-objective and hostile.” It will not take too long before we hear speeches starting with “O, Europe.”
Well of course, nobody will ask this: “We were ruling in 2004, when we were freed from the monitoring procedure. What’s changed resulting in the procedure being reinstated for Turkey?” The reason for this is that the AKP’s democratic enthusiasm that stated in 2002 was a short-lived one and has disappeared.
In today’s world, everything is happening in front of the eyes of everybody. This is a country where deputies are imprisoned. Most of the cases against them are related to the speeches they have made. Can you explain this to a democratic Europe?
The number of jailed journalists is increasing with every passing day. Everybody has seen the indictments for journalists who are facing life sentences. The accusations are related to their written pieces. Can it be possible in a democratic country for a journalist to be jailed and face a life sentence because of what they have written?
Dozens of academics have been dismissed because they were in the opposition. Can Europe accept this?
More than 100,000 civil servants have been removed from their jobs. They have no means of seeking their rights and proving their innocence. Even the objection commission has not been formed yet. Where can you find administrative decisions in Europe that are not open to judicial scrutiny?
The AKP’s rulers will now use this decision to fuel anti-Europeanism; they were waiting for such an opportunity anyway. Because they have no target left to be an equal part of Europe.
We will no longer live in a “model country,” but “in a country under the monitoring procedure.”