It is power politics, stupid!

It is power politics, stupid!


I’m normally very happy when a journalist is freed from jail. Not so for German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel. Instead I felt bitter, not only because many more journalists still languish in prison, but also because the rapid “implementation of justice” came shortly after a meeting between Angela Merkel and Binali Yıldırım, as if to highlight the influence of political power over the judiciary in Turkey. The episode also shows that the understanding of justice on behalf of German authorities is no different from their Turkish counterparts. 

If German politicians agree that justice is up for political negotiation, why criticize our politicians to engage in such deals? We are critical of Turkey’s democracy deficit but what about Germany’s? If it is justifiable for German politicians to prioritize their political and economic interests then the same may also be true for Turkish politicians. If the principle of justice is always secondary to political power and interests, how can we expect our rulers to behave otherwise?

I have always been critical of the hypocritical politics of so-called advanced Western democracies and the way they keep silent about human rights abuses and injustices in countries aligned with their interests. It seems that the Yücel case is another proof in point. It proves that the German Chancellor only cares about German citizens, as opposed to principles of justice, or perhaps they are simply showing off their political power. The message is clear. Germany is willing to work with any country that acknowledges its power and serves its interests. This means Germany has no right to criticize Turkey or any other country over its democracy deficit. Power politics trumps every other concern.

Deniz Yücel was not only freed but also transferred to Germany by private plane with the help of the German diplomatic service. The move resembled a spy swap or rescue operation and deserves an explanation by the authorities of both countries. Why did one person receive so much privilege? What was the motive behind such an extraordinary procedure? Both Turkish and German authorities should answer these questions.

My final words for Turkey’s dissenters who seek protection from European countries and institutions… Why bother with countries that constantly compromise their principles for their interests? What makes them so different? They also turn a blind eye to injustice, hypocrisy and power politics. How is it possible to have peace of mind elsewhere while others suffer in your own country?

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