Suspects change but police methods never change
İSMET BERKAN1. Policemen who are extremely “curious” tap almost everybody’s phone and bug their rooms illegally.
2. If they find a feature that they consider “usable,” they will convert the information they have gathered illegally into an anonymous tipoff letter and post it to themselves.
3. Hundreds of anonymous tipoff letters arrive at the offices of the police and the public prosecutor; however, only the ones that the police have written to themselves are taken seriously. An investigation starts immediately; phone taps and physical monitors and the like suddenly turn into “legal” operations based on a court order.
4. Depending on the situation, the investigation may proceed very fast or very slowly. If an investigation is dragging on, then you can be sure that an “appropriate” time is being sought.
5. This does not mean all of these investigations lack any content; on the contrary, there are more than enough crimes and criminal factors involved. Even if there were not, the mechanism that writes anonymous letters does not hesitate to create evidence and weird connections according to its own paranoia.
6. Forget about experts and relevant officials, any citizen who has commonsense can see these tricks, this flexing of the law and making the law an instrument. However, they are approved and supported by political power as long as it suits its purposes. When the same instrumentalization targets their own policies and their own ministers, then the color changes; all of a sudden, the talk becomes “parallel structures, a psychological war against the government, an attempt at tutelage and even an international conspiracy.”
7. Even though it has been known for years that this structure has been there acting independently not only for the interests of the “community” but even for personal interests of even personal hatred (Why do you think Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık were imprisoned?); and has instrumentalized the legal mechanism, the government moves to end this “structure” only when it turns against itself.
8. I am pretty sure that the recent investigation involving four Cabinet ministers and the sons of three of them will prove to have been launched because of anonymous tipoff letters written based on information gathered in previously illegal phone taps.
9. The information scattered around is too big to stomach. The cash carried around in suitcases, inside boxes, hidden inside shoe boxes is information adequate to ruin the claim that the government is “white (ak).”
10. After this stage, the government may weaken this investigation to a great extent but it cannot evaporate it. Consequently, cases will be opened, indictments will be written; there is no other way out.
11. The government acting with a serious defense reflex has started a giant witch-hunt nationwide and especially within the police force. However, the pacification of these policemen and officers will not eliminate the “parallel state” mentioned or change the order that allows parallel structuring in the country.
12. Let’s hope and wish that the government gives up its hopeless efforts to save the day and focus on real reforms that would take us a little bit closer to transparency and rule of law where the Cabinet ministers and the prime minister would not be informed beforehand of any investigation but at the same time, where prosecutors are accountable.
13. Because you should not forget that if Turkey were a real democracy based on the rule of law, neither parallel structures of this extent would have been possible nor would we be talking about the “interesting timing” of the corruption and bribery investigations involving Cabinet ministers and the ruling party’s mayors.
İsmet Berkan is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published Dec 20. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.