The Çağlayan warrant
Turkey does not deserve such treatment, but even in such a horrible situation there is an unbelievable sense of stubbornness.
“If one goes, all will go,” seems to be the thinking driving the Turkish government’s response to the U.S. arrest warrant issued for former Trade Minister Zafer Çağlayan over Iranian sanctions busting. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) complains that it is part of a plot ultimately aimed at the number one: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Getting a “not guilty” decision for three ministers accused of corruption at a political tribunal where the ruling party has a clear majority may have saved the ministers at home.
But if the crimes they are alleged to have been involved in relate to busting international embargoes, bribery, favoritism and misuse of office, then getting a “clean” verdict in your domestic political tribunal may not mean much internationally - particularly if there is evidence and a culprit willing to testify against his former companions.
In most of this country, it has been traditional to keep family affairs within the family. Incest, rape, theft and even murder committed by stronger, often male, members of the family against weaker, often young or female, members of the family are thus covered up with a disgusting mentality. But cover ups often cannot continue forever and at some point the truth usually comes out, landing the criminals in court.
Claiming that the ministers were absolutely not guilty and that the massive scandal was a “judicial coup attempt” hatched by the Fethullah Gülen terrorist network may well be correct.
After all, no one but the Gülenists - who have long been in the same bed as the AKP ruling elites - would know details of the kind of crimes they may have been involved in.
Still, Çağlayan was not able to convince the Turkish public of his innocence. He is also apparently unable to convince American prosecutors and has thus faced his latest awkward and humiliating arrest warrant.
The Turkish government may consider the entire ordeal to be a disguised attempt against Erdoğan, or even a product of Gülenists in the U.S. judiciary. The political contamination of justice is not my area of specialty, but Deputy Prime Minister and former Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ may perhaps know better. In normal democracies the legislative, judicial and executive branches all have important places but they avoid meddling in each other’s jurisdiction, under the principle of separation of powers.
Can we say the same thing for Turkey? Perhaps once upon a time there was hope for independence of the judiciary, but if a top judge can publicly enter into a war of words with the head of the main opposition party (and while doing so use the language of the ruling elites), and if all top judges tour the country alongside the president, it becomes much more difficult to talk about justice - let alone an independent justice system.
In my previous article, “Facing the reality,” I mentioned how the Turkcell telecommunications company levied an incredibly high “punishment” on my Internet use abroad.
The company has since accepted I was not adequately informed and made a considerable write off. I appreciate their attitude. A company should be clear in its ads. If 5 gb of internet use bought in Turkey cannot be used abroad then obviously it must be clearly stated.