Another ‘despotic state’ practice in an Anatolian court

Another ‘despotic state’ practice in an Anatolian court

A lawyer from the Central Anatolian province of Afyon, Umut Kılıç, took the judges’ exam and was jailed. 

Kılıç received 85 points on the written exam, which is the first phase of the qualification, but he was not able to pass the interview. This was his second try on the oral exam. 

He took the interview and attempted to explain to the members of the committee the damage the subjectivity of the interview can cause to human life.  

This is his crime. The members of the exam committee did not like this situation, called the police and had the lawyer taken out. Meanwhile, there was a scuffle and unpleasant words were exchanged. Upon that, Kılıç was sent to the Court of Peace with a demand for his arrest, and he was arrested. 

This is a really interesting situation. There are judgments by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that public employees and politicians can be criticized harshly. Apparently, the judge had not taken this into consideration. 

The maximum penalty Kılıç can possible get from the charge is within the limits of the deferment of the announcement of the verdict. In other words, even if he is sentenced, he will not be jailed. One can only be astonished at how the judge ruled for an arrest in this case.

The person in question is a lawyer. He has a known address, office and profession. How can the judge rule that he might escape and thus should be jailed? It is not comprehensible. 

The evidence regarding the crime is the minutes of the committee. There is no other evidence. If the defendant was not jailed, which evidence would he have spoiled? 

The head of the Turkish Bar Association, Professor Metin Feyzioğlu, said, “If it were a judge and not a lawyer who said these words, an arrest with the same enthusiasm and excitement would not have occurred.” He is right. 

This arrest, once again, shows that if you say words that sound unpleasant to the ears of the statesmen, then you find yourself in jail. The courts do not care a bit about the law, laws and fundamental human rights. This is one of the most important characteristics of the despotic state. 

Public employees and politicians ruling the state consider themselves above everything and everyone. You cannot ask them anything; you cannot claim your rights. If you do, then you need to choose between a rock and a hard place. 

A country without opposition    

A link in the operation of making Turkey a country without opposition with the help of the justice system has been the investigation about a video clip shot by “Art Assembly.” It is a film protesting why the killer of Gezi victim Berkin Elvan has not yet been found. Famous artists feature in the film asking where the killers of Berkin Elvan are.  

The film ends with the slogan, “Stop life on March 11 for Berkin.”

An investigation has started for the artists in the film because of a complaint that “people were called to take to the streets.” The artists are being investigated on charges of “solicitation.” 

There is one aim to this investigation: To intimidate and oppress the opposition. 

In a democratic country, neither “people taking to the streets” nor “calling people to take to the streets” is a crime. People can take to the streets to enjoy their right to protest or invite people to the streets. It could be a general strike, a gathering or a march. 

A crime is committed when those who took to the streets become violent; taking to the streets en masse is not a crime by itself. It is a right protected by ECHR judgments. 

Prosecutors no doubt know this but those in power and the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) under its surveillance are trying to create such pressure through the justice system that some of them voluntarily and some of them compulsorily open these investigations.  

But what follows is the damage caused to the confidence of the independent judiciary.