Attack must not be covered up

Attack must not be covered up

An Ankara court ruled for the conditional release of Orhan Övet on April 9, a day after he was arrested for a fist-flying attack on main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at Parliament.

The court decision came hours after a Tweet by Hüseyin Çelik, the spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti), which stated that the attacker was unfortunately an AKP member and added that as soon as the party discovered that reality Övet was expelled. Çelik apologized and a self-criticized that the AKP should have been more careful in approving the membership of such a person with numerous criminal records, ranging from bank robbery to wounding people.

As Övet is on conditional release for a number of other criminal acts, he will be held in prison, but not specifically for attacking Kılıçdaroğlu.

We are talking about a Turkey where retired Chief of Staff İlker Başbuğ had been arrested by a court on suspicion that he might spoil evidence or escape from the country, although he had traveled here himself to testify. It is the same country where journalist Mustafa Balbay was held inside before being convicted for four years, despite having been elected as an MP in the meantime.

CHP Deputy Chairman Gürsel Tekin asked a few questions about the attack yesterday, questioning what would happen if a similar attack had have been carried out against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, instead of Kılıçdaroğlu. One can speculate, taking examples from the recent past.

For example, the attack might have been denounced as a “coup attempt” by the CHP, similar to the AK Parti’s response to the corruption allegations from the Gülenists.

Almost all TV channels might have started live coverage during which AK Parti ministers, MPs and pro-government academics and journalist would have built theories about how the CHP, disappointed by the election results, might have staged this dark plot.

Then, for example, the police officers who questioned the attacker might have been denounced as Gülenists for not asking the right questions. They might have been removed from their offices immediately. (It has still yet to be revealed who gave the reference for Övet to get into the Parliament building as a visitor.) Also, the prosecutor and judges of the court might have been denounced as being related to the Gülenists, or being members of the “parallel state,” as Erdoğan likes to call it.

But no, thank God, Övet did not attack Erdoğan; he attacked Kılıçdaroğlu. It has been learned that this criminal was a member of the AK Parti and that the court decided for his conditional release after the party announced, with a public apology, that he had been expelled.

Case closed? It must not be closed. There must be a thorough investigation to understand if there is someone, or group, behind Övet, who manipulated him. They all should be brought before independent courts and punished accordingly.

If the Turkish system had been able to investigate the assassination attempt against then-Prime Minister Turgut Özal in the 1980s, perhaps there would have been no Susurluk scandal in the 1990s. If the Susurluk scandal had been investigated properly, perhaps Hrant Dink, the Armenian-origin Turkish journalist would not have been murdered in the 2000s.

That is why it should be properly investigated. Not just because the attack on the main opposition leader is a serious crime in itself, but also because history repeats itself for those who cannot draw lessons from it.