Tahir Elçi and the ‘throw into the dungeon’ attitude

Tahir Elçi and the ‘throw into the dungeon’ attitude

It was an idea from the head of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, Tahir Elçi. Just an idea… 

It was not hate speech, an insult or a swear word. He may have been wrong, unfair, disturbing, offensive, even shocking, but in the end it was just an idea. It was an idea that did not contain any encouragement or praise for the crime of terror. But despite this he almost went to prison for “propagandizing for a terror organization.” He barely escaped.

In fact, if the natural course of events was allowed, his rights and wrongs would have canceled each other out. If you write down his arguments as a list and leave them alone, you see that they contradict each other and would be brought down within three seconds.

But let’s assume that he stepped way over the line. Is the justice system a tool to warn those who step over the line?

What was his main theme? It was that PKK is not a terror organization; it is a phenomenon that exceeds that definition. What were his examples to support this idea? He asked whether Masoud Barzani, Jalal Talabani and Yasser Arafat were not also once accused of being terrorists. Yes they were, but all of them were later hosted at the White House. What’s more, Hamas is a terror organization according to the EU and the U.S., but it is welcomed with state protocol in Turkey.

So, are you saying the Kandil Mountains are Gaza or Ramallah and Ankara is Tel Aviv? 

So, is Turkey’s position against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) the same as Israel’s against the Palestinians? By the way, according to U.N. rulings, Israel occupies Palestinian land? 

Tahir Elçi’s own argument stated that the Turkish Armed Forces is not an occupation army in the region, as the PKK calls it. Neither is the PKK a terrorist organization, as the state calls it. He believes that both of these definitions are wrong and therefore this language must be changed. 

Aren’t there major contradictions in these claims? 

If the Turkish Armed Forces is not an occupying army, then how can you compare the PKK to the Palestine Liberation Organization? How can you say its similar to a resistance organization like HAMAS? 

Besides, not every method used by the organizations involved in a war of liberation in Palestinian lands under Israeli occupation is regarded as acceptable. When they explode a bomb they are condemned…  

If Tahir Elçi’s words are not enough to contradict one another, then take a look at the words of HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş. 

Don’t pay attention to him saying one day, “Our state attacked our people. The state conducted a massacre. You are murderers.” Then the next day he says, “We’re not saying the government planned the Ankara massacre, or the state actually did it and the prime minister knew about it.”   

Don’t pay attention to how he repeats these in a zigzag loop. It was he himself who very recently said in London that “democratic politics and armed methods don’t go side by side.”

Elçi’s comparison of Turkey and Iraq is also down the drain now. The very existence of the HDP proves this. While the HDP exists, what comparison can one make between the Kurds resisting Saddam’s Ba’ath Party and the PKK members who are planting dynamite under democracy in Turkey? 

Elçi talks about breaking taboos. But instead of provocative statements breaking the taboo that the PKK is not a terror organization, let’s break the mentality that cherishes the weapon and fetishizes the armed method. Let’s shake the Kandil Mountains with shocking ideas and create rational tremors there. Wouldn’t it be a better provocation to encourage those in the mountains to come down? 

But what does it mean to take Elçi to court? Is court the place where ideas are judged? 

No, even the weakest of ideas cannot be refuted by the verdict of a judge. 

If Elçi introduces an argument, you should bring forward a counter-argument. The police and the prosecutor do not interfere in the debate. Strong ideas fail and ideas that are resilient to logic and common sense stay on. 

Moreover, why would you bring the head of a bar association - who was ready to serve his sentence voluntarily - to court accompanied by police, as if he would have otherwise tried to escape?

Elçi was accused of terror propaganda. But the “throw him into the dungeon” stance that he has been subject to actually strengthens even the weakest idea, giving it international propaganda strength.