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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > The file on ‘The Magnificent Century’ shelved

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While we continue discussing that unfortunate statement by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the TV series “Muhteşm Yüzyıl?” (The Magnificent Century), I don’t know if you have noticed, but nothing has been heard from the judiciary or the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK). The expectation had been that right after the prime minister’s speech, these two institutions would make a move.

Usually, the prime minister would say something; next, the government would prepare a motion and have it approved at the speed of lightning. For example, the mosque on Çamlıca was processed in this way.

It was not that the prime minister simply declared he did not like the TV series, what was really unfortunate was the fact that he called on the judiciary to take action. With this, concern about the independence of the judiciary became more widespread. This kind of an opportunity was being sought anyway.

I was also waiting with huge interest: “Let’s see which prosecutor will concern themselves?” What's more, I had estimated that RTÜK might want to look cute to the prime minister.

Both expectations proved vain. Both the judiciary and RTÜK have proved us wrong.

They have done what was correct. Of course, not every correct deed receives applause here. But I wanted to draw attention to these two institutions and say, “You have done what was correct.”

There was nothing the prosecutors could have done anyway. The TV serial is not conducting a crime.

I called RTÜK. I’ve learned that there was no initiative or a preparation of one there, either. They continue with their normal monitors. No new file has been opened after the prime minister’s speech.

I think the prime minister does not want to focus on this too much either. Apparently he has seen how uncomfortable the society has been with this intervention. A sign of this could be when he asked reporters at an airport not to ask questions on the subject while he was on his way to Spain.

All of this is good news for the soap opera producers, both for the owner of the station Ferit Şahenk and the station Star TV itself. However, let’s not forget that when the prime minister criticizes something, he does not let go of it easily.

How will the ombudsman function in this case?

The ombudsman institute is an exclusively correct step. In the European Union, it has a key function where it solves several problems. The person you call the ombudsman should be a personality respected by every segment of the society, impartial, and somebody who is able to protect the people’s rights against the state.

Turkey has elected its Ombudsperson after long discussions. Mehmet Nihat Ömerğlu has received votes from almost every party. He was known as a respected name and personality.

However, he is receiving excessive criticism from a segment of the society.

During his membership on the Supreme Court of Appeals, his voting in favor of the (slain Armenian Turkish journalist) Hrant Dink’s conviction from Article 301 (insulting “Turkishness”) has created disappointment. The former votes of the person elected as ombudsman are important because they illustrate both his personality and mentality. I think Ömeroğlu’s Dink vote was an extremely unfortunate choice.

Now the question is this:

How will Ömeroğlu function after all these criticisms? How credible will he be? In the eyes of the public, will the decisions he make satisfy consciences?

Or will he remain as the ombudsman of those who have elected him?

Surely the person who should make this decision is not the prime minister or those who voted for him, but again Ömeroğlu himself.

December/04/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Ozgur Erhan

12/5/2012 5:40:46 PM

If Turkey punishes people who do not follow the government view on Ottoman Sultans, how can it condemn France and Austria for forcing everyone to follow their idea of history on the Armenians?

american american

12/4/2012 1:55:28 PM

baby steps. they just fined the simpsons

dogan kemal ileri

12/4/2012 6:05:24 AM

Well there you go you Turks instead of bleeting like sheeps and you make adequate representation of your position people in charge will take on board your views.Public opinion is a most powerful tool in developed economies of the world whether use in economics or consumerism and Turkiye has to learn to express itself so that there is no room for unilateral action by our prime minister but one always pointing in the public interest.

mara mcglothin

12/4/2012 12:51:55 AM

Everyone needs to make their own decision every night when they are holding the remote control. Simple.
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