Ergenekon: Justice of the state that does not rest upon human rights
İsmet BerkanWe all know what happened; let me explain what should have happened:
1. The sources of law in constitutional democracies are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which Turkey is a signatory country to.
2. Both of the international laws that are on human rights count freedom of expression within individual rights.
3. The thought “Let there be a coup and we will get rid of this government” may not always be freedom of expression. In some constitutional democracies this may be defined as “freedom,” whereas in some it will not be defined as such. I am one of those who consider this statement within the concept of freedom of expression.
4. The limit to freedom of expression is where violence, calls to violence and hate crimes start. There is a difference between saying, “A coup would be great, I wish there would be one,” and “Come on friends, let us sit together and plan a coup.” The second one is counted as a crime all around the world.
5. It is a crime, but there these things will be looked into: Could the ones who speak of planning a coup really stage one? Do they have the capacity, instruments and opportunities to do so?
6. In our Ergenekon case, the ones who said “A coup would be great” and the ones who said “Come on, let us plan a coup” were put in the same basket and judged together.
7. The ones who planned a coup really made their plans. They probably thought they were not going to get caught, so they put their plans into a PowerPoint slide show. When a plan collapsed, they prepared a second one. That they did not stage a coup does not mean they did not have the necessary opportunities, instruments and capacity to stage one.
8. It is the second plan, which included so many civilians, that led to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” criticisms, and made people comment that “the opposition is being put on trial, not the people in favor of coups.” I confer on most of these comments right.
9. The second plan (“Ayışığı-Yakamoz”) envisaged that first “a coup environment needs to be set up, and plenty and powerful people need be longing for a coup.” For the ones who are curious, they can reach the PowerPoint slide show of this plan through the Ergenekon document.
10. The court and especially the prosecutors unfortunately did not work in line with the methodology that this article tries to express. In fact, it is hard to say that they even had a methodology. The absence of methodology is one of the reasons the case was not apprehended enough by public opinion.
11. A less-debated and very-little-written-on topic, which I consider to have a central importance, is that the government has not offered content help to the prosecutors in a matter that is of particular concern to them.
12. Yes, the government, by activating the police and defending the investigation prosecutors all the way, has done something that was not done before but that is all. They did not give their administrative investigation power for use by the prosecutors. The prosecutors reached lots of evidence the government had been aware of for a long time, almost by coincidence. (How could the prosecutors reach the coup plans of “Sarıkız” and “Ayışığı-Yakamoz” and the diaries belonging to Özden Örnek, if Şener Eruygur had not kept them with him when he retired? How could the police find and raid the country cottage in Eskişehir and bring all those explosives and documents belonging to the Special Forces into the open if a person who was in a business dispute with retired Maj. Fikret Emek had not gone to Muzaffer Tekin to solve the dispute and had not left some digital data about Emek there?)
13. The government was aware of the “Sarıkız” coup plan that was prepared by Şener Eruygur in time but learned about the “Ayışığı-Yakamoz” plan with a little delay. All of this process would have been different if the government had mobilized the judicial authority and its investigation power at the moment it had learned about the “Sarıkız” plan.
14. Let us rewind to the beginning: Yesterday we saw what it was not to differentiate between freedom of expression and “coup planning,” so we saw the results of justice that did not rest upon human rights. We can be sad for some of the people who were sentenced, we can question whether they had earned such punishments or we could compare their punishments with the others’ fines. But we did not need the Ergenekon case to learn that freedom of expression was on purpose left restricted and that the judicial system did not look anything close to the ones we watched in American series on TV.
15. Turkey unfortunately is a country where among the blind the one-eyed man is king and it seems as though it is to remain that way. Some people in this country say “great lessons” have been learned from the Ergenekon trial; it is not convincing at all.