A police state instead of the military?
I want to mention an observation of mine. I think this is also shared by the majority of the public. The police are changing. It looks as if they are undertaking the role that Turkish Armed Forces used to have.
In the past, Turkish Armed Forces used to dominate everything. Just as it steered politics, it was also be involved in daily life. For example, the gendarmerie would launch corruption investigations that also involved very important politicians; they would organize raids, work as the police force for the prosecutors and tap phones.
The military was even more dominant over ordinary crimes. It would either share its wide intelligence with the police or it would start the operation by itself and later hand it over to the police. The police was used as if it were the subcontractor of the military.
Have you noticed? These roles have started changing for the last couple of years. We have discussed it many times whether there was a conflict between the police and the military. This was the natural outcome of the “democratization” and the “decrease of the effect of the military” in Turkey. Police, in a way, “won” at the end of this process.
This is the right way. The military’s duty is to defend the country. Police’s duty is to keep the order. But I have doubts as to what extent the police organization is digesting this weight that has been loaded on it.
I can see police officials acting vulgarly. With the ease they have for having the support of the “political authority” and “democratization,” they pay no attention to basic rights and social psychology, be it at street demonstrations or while guiding the prosecutors.
From the police station beating in İzmir to the alleged tortures and sexual harassment inside the police buses during Hopa protests, almost every day negative images are seen on television screens. Endless bugging and case files that are not based on concrete facts increase the question marks.
The military, with years of experience, was more disciplined. Is it because the police is just discovering those areas, or is it because the cameras have turned to them that they are demonstrating this messy stance?
Police management, from the minister to the lowest chief, has to be very careful. This society, just out of military pressure, should not be doomed to “fear of the police.”
A battering police who give credit to nonsense, who guides prosecutors with accusations based on hearsay will backfire after a while. If the police are aiming to undertake the former role of the military, then they are making a big mistake.
The cry of a father
Did you watch Hıdır Öztürk on TV the other night? He was crying for his 17-year-old daughter Ayten Öztürk who fell victim to an unresolved murder in 1992 at the eastern province Tunceli and whose body that had torture marks was found two months later at the cemetery of the nameless. He made his listeners cry also. It is claimed the so-called JİTEM, an intelligence unit of the gendarmerie never officially recognized by the military, has killed Ayten Öztürk. Hıdır Öztürk, 76, explained his talks with the commander of the gendarmerie regiment of the time. He said because of the possibility of his daughter’s joining the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), she was handed over to the famous murderer code named Yeşil (Green).
My heart shattered while I was listening to Hıdır Öztürk. I was nauseous with the cruelty of the state and those who represented the state.
Now, I’m waiting.
What will the sub-committee on terror and violence working under the Parliament Human Rights Research Commission do?
Will they close the file of Hıdır Öztürk who says, “I am the father of a child whose body was ripped, whose eyes were dug out, whose ears were cut” or will they file a criminal complaint?