What this new palace symbolizes for us

What this new palace symbolizes for us

As of Wednesday, Oct. 29, a tradition has come to an end. From now on, when Çankaya is mentioned, we will not think of the office of the president.

As far as I can monitor from the press, what the new unlicensed building will be called is not yet clear; a consensus has not been reached on a common name.

There are those who call it “Ak Saray [White Palace in Turkish],” “Presidential Palace” or because of the location, it is also called “Beştepe.”

Whatever its name is, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken another step on the road to erase the traces remaining from the Republic’s past. 

I was thinking what this illegally built building, which was constructed after killing a significant portion of the Atatürk Forest Farm, reminds me of and I found the answer at Cengiz Çandar’s column from Wednesday: Ceauşescu’s Presidential Palace in Bucharest.

I have seen that building, I went inside it. Süleyman Demirel was the president then. The traces of Ceauşescu were long gone in Romania, but that building stood erect at the heart of Bucharest as a symbol of the dictatorship.

This building too will be remembered as such a symbol; Turkey at the time of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as the symbol of his mentality of governing.

It has been known that there is a relation between architecture and the ruling power since the ancient times. While the ruling bodies impose their ideologies on the society, they make excessive use of this.

This was the meaning of the giant temples of antique times and so were the Soviet, Nazi and fascist Italian architecture in more recent times.

Such was the relation of these venues with time; architecture transformed people in the direction of the ideology that comes to power and made the “presence of power” undebatable.

I had talked about Deyan Sudjic’s book before, “The Edifice Complex: The architecture of Power.” Sudjic asks “Why do presidents and prime ministers, tycoons and tyrants share such a fascination with grand designs? Is it to impress or terrify, to wield state power, make a bid for immortality or just satisfy their egos?” 

We have read the details of the building in the papers, listened to it at TV news, the building in Beştepe, which was constructed against court orders; that it was this many 1,000 square meters, so many 1,000 people were able to work in it and it cost that many million Turkish Liras.

This fascination of “grandiose” shows us this way who owns the power.

An ego difficult to satisfy, the need to terrify anyone who does not think like him…
This is what this building tells us!

A prosecutor in Ankara

Judge İbrahim Ekdemir of Ankara’s 10th Court of General Sessions made a press statement for judicial reporters at the hearing room.   

The judge, who had 36 years of experience, wanted cameras to be allowed inside the hearing hall, but he had to give up because Acting Chief Prosecutor Zeki Bayrak told him that “the consequences of allowing cameras will be heavy.”

The judge, during his press address, called on HSYK members to forget the unpleasantness during the election process and be objective, adding, “The only reality in the world that does not change is the need for everybody to be for true justice.”

When I read this story in the paper, I was happy for two reasons. First, because it was highlighting that there are judges in our country who believe in true justice, and secondly, I was able to learn that there was a Chief Prosecutor in Ankara, even though he was an “acting” one.

I cannot remember how many times I have written in this column about the Siemens corruption case and that a Cabinet minister was also involved in it. I did receive an official response once about this, which came from the Office of the Chief Prosecutor in Ankara. It was an explanation that documents were expected from Germany and that was the reason the investigation was proceeding slowly.

I recalled this again the other day, and I was hoping that an authorized prosecutor in Ankara would step in and inform us of the fate of this investigation. When no such thing happened, I was worried whether there were any prosecutors in Ankara or not.

Well, I now know that there are. But apparently, he could not find time from dealing with cameras to look into what stage the Siemens investigation was at.