Justice at home, justice in the world
The government has all the right to seek justice in the name of the more than 100,000 Syrians killed by the Bashar al-Assad regime since March 2011, and to try to lead the international community to bring those responsible to account. Calling for the punishment of al-Assad, who allegedly wielded chemical weapons against civilians on Aug. 21, is also in line with this very universal value of justice, as prominent Turkish authorities frequently touch on.
Seeking justice for ousted President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, for Palestinians in Gaza who have long been suffering from an Israeli embargo, and other examples, are also understandable for a country that long ago declared itself an advocate of the sufferer, wherever they are in the world, regardless of religion or ethnicity.
Despite fierce criticisms from various political groups both inside and outside Turkey, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has reiterated that it will not abandon this foreign policy based on conscience, justice and moral principles. Although one can disagree and argue that this policy is not sustainable for a country like Turkey, which has ambitions to become a regional and global leader, it deserves to be respected as it is based on humanistic values and ethics.
At this point, however, I believe, that the very citizens of this country have the right to question why the government is not caring for the justice of its own people, too.
Need an example? Just look into the trial process of Hrant Dink’s murder. Dink was first killed by triggerman Ogün Samast on Jan. 19, 2007, but he has continued “being massacred” since then in every phase of the judicial process Dink’s family expressed its disappointment and reaction in a letter before yesterday’s hearing, more than six-and-a-half year after the murder: “As the Dink family, we will no more be tools of the state mechanisms that have been mocking us, and we will not attend the hearings of the retrial.” The state and its judiciary are yet to bring justice for the country’s Armenian-Turkish journalist, once a symbolic figure in reconciliation efforts between Turks and Armenians.
Dink’s case is cited here as it’s the most actual and newsworthy one; otherwise, the absence of justice or the inability of the judicial system to provide justice is a wider and more common problem in Turkey. Apart from the structural problems of the Turkish justice system, which long ago lost its independence and impartiality, its reflex to protect “the state” at the expense of breaching the rights of individuals, appear to be the roots of this problem of injustice.
It’s getting increasingly difficult to understand how this country will bring justice to Syrians, to Palestinians, etc., when it fails to ease the pains of the mothers of Ethem Sarısülük, Ali İsmail Korkmaz, or Ahmet Atakan. Or how this government will explain its inaction against and tolerance toward security forces’ violating rules and procedures? How can injustice turn into a norm in a country aspiring to join the EU one day?
The problem that this government is reluctant to see is that this inconsistency is perfectly observed by the world and is one of leading sources of its loss of credibility.