Between a rock and a hard place

Between a rock and a hard place

Some countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have severed their diplomatic relations with Qatar. Their reason is that Qatar provides financial support to terrorist groups in the region. 

There are many reasons at the same time for us to think that this move is an extension of U.S. President Donald Trump administration’s Iran policies. 

Qatar, on one hand, acts contrary to Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s interests with its support to the Muslim Brotherhood, while on the other hand, it prefers a more balanced relationship with Iran, in sharp contrast to Saudi Arabia. 

Our situation in this picture can precisely be explained with the phrase “between a rock and a hard place.”  

We are building a military base with Qatar “against common enemies.” A division tactical headquarters will be formed, where between 500 and 600 Turkish troops will be deployed, and the deputy commander will be a Turkish brigadier general. 

On the other hand, with President Erdoğan’s words, we are in a “very comprehensive” military alliance with Saudi Arabia. This is a military alliance formed against terror organizations and supporters of terror. 

What will happen now? 

The first sign of what we will try to do was given by the foreign minister. He said Turkey will “do whatever it can” to overcome this crisis.

There are multifaceted financial relations between Qatar and Turkey. There are substantial Qatar investments in Turkey and in the case of a possible embargo; it is quite likely that Turkey will be negatively affected from this. 

Longer criminal record 

Recent police violence exerted on demonstrator Veli Saçılık, who lost his job with a state of emergency decree, is a sign of Turkey’s indifference on human rights violations. You must have seen the photo. Two policemen are shooting plastic bullets at close-range targeting Saçılık. Apparently they have received open orders from their supervisors.

Their only difference from Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) member putschists who opened fire at crowds is that they are using plastic bullets; because this act of theirs is nothing more than disregarding the current constitution. 

Peaceful demonstrations, according to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), are acts that have to be tolerated. 

Saçılık’s act was perfectly compatible with this. A citizen who believed his rights were violated was making a protest demonstration without risking anybody’s life. 

Again, according to ECHR judgments, peaceful demonstrations are a sign of healthily functioning democracies. 

In this incident, there is an open violation of rights and the offenders are not only the policemen who targeted and shot Saçılık. Whoever gave them this instruction is also guilty. The police officers are guilty also for not hesitating to carry out orders openly against the constitution and laws. 

The impunity of this offence will constitute another page in Turkey’s criminal record of human rights. 

Exploiting state of emergency

The Justice Ministry has banned publicizing a ÇİMDER (Association for Fight against Child Abuse) report on the Şakran Child Prison in İzmir because of the state of emergency. The association had started a rehabilitation project for the children in Şakran with the consent of the ministry. 

In this program, experts and academics taught anger management to children. The aim was to prevent them from harming themselves or the society after release. The program was very successful; the experience was submitted to the ministry in a report. There are suggestions in it; nothing political. 

But the Justice Ministry banned the sharing of a scientific report which has nothing to do with the state of emergency. 

The dissemination of a brochure against child abuse prepared by the association was also stopped by the İzmir Education Directorate. 

It is not difficult to envisage the motivation of the government; they do not want non-governmental organizations to publicize opinions and offer solutions to the country’s problems. 

As a matter of fact, you can see the same stance in the debate about a bill on making olive groves open for development. The Prime Minister told off people saying, “Nobody should pretend to be the protector of olive trees.” He scolded singer Tarkan when he said “Protect the olive trees,” snapping “He should sing his songs.” 

They regard politics as a field just for themselves; they are against the society participating in politics.