I am really puzzled

I am really puzzled

Come on, let’s get together, leave rivalry, prejudices, our demons and intentions to bankrupt a company aside. Let’s discuss a quite critical issue here.

Two days ago, I found two news stories on my desk. The first one was about the Court of Appeals’ decision enabling lawsuits against the Ergenekon prosecutors. The second one was about the removal of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s political immunity by the Italian Constitutional Court.

Frankly, I faced a dilemma as I read through them. Let me start with the removal of Berlusconi’s immunity. Political immunity in the Turkish Parliament is the hardest shield to be broken. I’ve always defended immunity for actions and words uttered during parliamentary works. Besides, I’ve never objected to immunity in different areas.

And I still defend it. Arbitrary practices and decisions of some prosecutors against parliamentary deputies, ministers and prime ministers have played a role in this.

However, the decision of the Italian Constitutional Court was based on a critical ground as judges removed Berlusconi’s immunity: The principle of equality.

That’s right! If two individuals commit the very same crime and if one is a deputy, or a minister or a prime minister and the other is an ordinary citizen, and if the citizen is being punished and the other is let go, then there is inequality here, is there not?

What’s more, if that prime minister or minister turns quite barbaric in a way that seriously harms other people or companies will he go unpunished?

Can such arbitrariness be protected by the shield of immunity? Yes, I am really puzzled. A part of me says, “Immunity should not be removed,” and the other part of me says just as strongly, “No, it should be removed.”

But then, the following question comes to my mind: I wonder what could have happened if the Constitutional Court in Turkey had reached a similar decision. I am also puzzled by the Ergenekon prosecutors’ case. They are really doing a great job.

After all, they are conducting a historic case in order to save Turkish democracy from similar unfortunate incidents. So, they should benefit from legal immunity. This is extremely important.

But then again, as I consider that the very same prosecutors bother many people because of their arbitrary practices and seriously harm some, I believe the Court of Appeals’ decision is in place.

I truly believe the decision is right when I remember arbitrary and unlawful wire tapings, keeping track records on private lives and then including all this in case files. Likewise, I am really having a hard time understanding some arbitrary practices in bureaucracy and bureaucrats being used by politicians, and even by institutions.

Should the responsible parties not give an account of material damages to people and firms? I mean, as bureaucrats are being protected under immunity, individuals and companies that fall victim to the bureaucrats' wrath should be protected as well, should they not?

Democracy is not a regime all about constitutions, laws and by-laws. Having a culture of democracy to implement all these is perhaps the most important thing. Who will apply laws and in what kind of a mindset?

I am talking about a democracy culture that will prevent politicians and bureaucrats in power from turning their rage, grudge and anger into “despotism over others.” This will be the foundation of the future of democracy in Turkey, democracy culture.

If we cannot make this culture an indispensable term of democracy, the atrocity we face today will certainly harm others when the government changes some day, especially if everyone sees that similar methods are very effective ways of controlling your competitors, institutions or people you dislike.

How could you stop others in the future from doing the very same thing you and your proponents are doing today?