Paying in cash
Nasraddin Hodja borrowed some money from a merchant. Weeks and months passed but the financial situation of Hodja remained so terrible he could not pay back his debt as he promised. The merchant, fed up with the delay, visited Hodja and urged him to pay back his debt immediately. Broke Hodja pondered what to do for a few moments, then went to his front door, walked outside, and planted a bush in front of the door.
“Look, my friend,” he told the merchant. “I will pay my debt in cash!” The merchant, puzzled with Hodja’s “confidence” and angered with his failure to get his money back, asked him, “How, Hodja?” All smiles, Hodja replied, “Look, my friend. This bush will grow. Herds of sheep will pass by. Every passing sheep will leave some wool on the bush. I will sell the wool collected on the bush and pay back my debt in cash.” Surprised with Hodja’s words, the merchant started laughing. “You saw cash and started laughing,” Hodja replied.
The justice minister disclosed work was underway to quicken the process of court verdicts at the Supreme Court of Appeals. Apparently, the Supreme Court of Appeals, where the number of top judges was increased with last year’s “judicial amendments,” was expected to complete going through the piled dossiers within one year or so. With reforms, his ministry will propose Parliament process cases at lower courts within a maximum one to one and a half years. Thus, he said, soon on average a judicial case, including the period needed for the Supreme Court of Appeals, will be completed within one year on average.
There is absolutely a problem in that calculation of the minister, yet what he said is great news for justice in this country if we accept that late justice is the biggest injustice.
But what was the issue under debate? To what charges was the minister trying to answer? Among other top issues, it was the demand of the Silivri prosecutor the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu be stripped of his judicial immunity and brought to court to give an account of his statement, in which he condemned the Silivri Prison as a concentration camp; it was the completion of 1,000 days in prison by two elected deputies at the Silivri concentration camp; it was the detention and arrest of İlker Başbuğ, a former chief of General Staff, by a civilian court on grounds he was a terrorist chieftain, although under AKP-legislated constitutional reforms the top commander could only be tried at the Supreme Council.
That is, the demand was for a judicial reform which should of course speed up the judicial process in this country, but further than that, put a full stop to an almost 50-year-old tradition of special courts.
Trying to stop, with the threat of judicial action, the main opposition leader criticizing the government is not good. Branding a retired top general as a terrorist chieftain is not sane. But, a non-sentencing keeping a person behind bars for more than four years is worse. Courts with special powers are abnormal and cannot be conducive to democracy of any sort.
Now many Turks are laughing at the remarks of the justice minister, and a brazenfaced politician is responding in the very same fashion as if we were the merchant and he the Hodja.