The result of letting communities and cults into state institutions

The result of letting communities and cults into state institutions

Thousands of people have been detained since right after the coup attempt. Among the detainees are members of the Constitutional Court and members of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). Following the failed attempt, widespread dismissals are ongoing in the Interior Ministry. 

There are thousands of police and several governors, inspectors, legal experts, deputy general managers and heads of departments among them. Some 140 members of the Supreme Court of Appeals and 48 members of the Council of State have been suspended. The detained and suspended judges and prosecutors make up almost one-fifth of the total judiciary. There are 29 generals detained because of the attempted coup. We don’t know how many of these people were involved in the coup planning

An independent and fair trial will reveal the truth but we are not sure we have such a judicial organization. What we have experienced up to now is well known. 

This picture demonstrates that the state has totally “decomposed.” Those whose community connections were stronger than their loyalty to the constitution and rule of law were promoted all the way to become generals, high court judges, judges and prosecutors. This is the consequence of appointing civil servants according to their loyalty to organizations such as a community, sect or cult. It is certain now that a huge restoration period should start. If we fail to form a state mechanism undoubtedly committed to democratic state principles, then we can say that this chaotic environment we are living in will become deeper. States can remain standing with strong institutions. The mentality of destroying institutions will take us to the end of the “last Turkish state.”

For democracy to really win  

The first words that came out of everybody’s mouth, after the suppression of the coup attempt, were:

“Democracy won.” 

No doubt, if the coup attempt had been successful, we would be yearning for even the restricted democracy we have today. We would go through a period of chaos which could even cause a civil war; democratic gains would have gone back half a century.

Thus, there is nothing wrong in saying that democracy has won, but this is not adequate to save “our democracy.” 

The reason is the constitution has been “suspended” in the country we live in today. We are not sure if the new constitution to replace the old one will be democratic and secure the separation of powers. Will holding a civil servant’s position and getting a promotion be associated with knowledge and competence or will the positions of the former powerful community members be filled with new ones? 

Yes, we have weathered a coup and have come to these days when we can talk about these. But this does not really demonstrate that democracy has won.  

If we really want democracy to win, we have to do exactly the opposite of what we have done up to now.  

Giving up on law? 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke to the crowds after the coup attempt. The crowds cheered and silenced him with chants that they wanted capital punishment back. The president replied, “In democracies, people’s demands cannot be ignored. That right would be evaluated in constitutional organs and would be decided upon.” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said at a press conference, “We will discuss the death penalty.”

Indeed, there is no certainty in both the president’s and the prime minister’s statements. They refrained from making a pledge like “we will reinstall the death penalty.” Apparently they want the environment to chill out with their vague replies. However, I should say that they need to speak clearly on this issue. It is the requirement of being a statesman. 

Because the people who demand the death penalty should know that if the death penalty is to be reinstalled, it will not be retroactive. There is no possibility to ask for the death penalty for the coup plotters, if this is a state of law. The coup was attempted against the legal order in Turkey. After suppressing the coup, are we going to say farewell to law? 

On the other hand, the lifting of the death penalty was about Turkey’s membership to the EU. 

Are we going to give up on our EU membership bid now by reinstalling the death penalty? 

This should be clearly explained to the nation.