Democracy and the reign of fear
With the latest emergency decree installed, a significant threshold has been crossed.
For the first time since the July 15 coup attempt, people have unanimously spoken up against the state of emergency.
If important politicians like the 11th Turkish President Abdullah Gül, a founding member of the long-time ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has publicly stated the need for the emergency decree’s revision, then it signals that there is a serious flaw in the decree.
In response, with the statements from Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Dec 27, expectations for the decree’s revision have been left up in the air.
This situation also reflects the crossing of another threshold, which closely affects peace in society.We need to review the decree once again in order to understand why the administration is so keen to insist on keeping it as is.
The concerns and rejections against the decree are regarding:
1. An amnesty for citizens who lynched putschist soldiers on the night of the coup.
2. The vagueness and open-endedness of the amnesty’s general text, which does not specify that it only covers the night of the coup.
It could be said that the second reason has played a larger role in the public debate.
Had the article been designed to focus on covering only the night of the coup as officials have emphasized, the boundaries in the decree should have been clearly defined within the dates July 15-16.
The decree, which is an amnesty for those “suppressing a coup attempt and the terrorist acts that follow it,” is a statement that is open-ended and lacks clarity.This open-ended statement welcomes all kinds of abuse.
For example, citizens who wish to assemble using their constitutional rights might be interrupted by civilians claiming the meeting is terror-linked.
The public’s prevailing request had been for the clarification of this ambiguity in the article. Had there been a mistake in the decree’s text, the administration could have easily fixed it upon the public’s appeal.
A single-sentence decree would have been sufficient for this. Yet, the government has insisted on keeping the decree ambiguous.It is obvious a majority of the public are understandably concerned with the regulation.
Yet, we can say the political authority consciously chooses for the public to remain concerned by ignoring the requests that are pouring in for its revision.
It is expected of the government to hear its people out and show sensitivity in light of a major concern. However, the issue here might be beyond sensitivity.
“Democracy” and “fear” are not concepts that go side-by-side. They are mutually exclusive.
A democratic system built on the power of law is done so in order for the public to pursue a life without carrying the shadow of fear upon them.Once fear knocks on the door, it can no longer be called a democracy.
When examined under this light, there has been a fundamental breaking point in Turkey due to preferences on how the country should be ruled.
A majority of Turkish people—tens of millions of citizens—have been raised from early on in their lives to be civilized and with the understanding of avoiding violence.
They have been told that a decent citizen and a good human being should abstain from violence—that being civilized requires one to seek their rights by way of law and not the use of violence.
The decree carries the potential to override all the basic values these country’s citizens have grown up with by encouraging them to resort to brute force.
In the past, the government used to be a safe house for citizens who had been subjected to physical violence.
Now, the government announces through the Official Gazette that its citizens do not have such security.
A lawful government’s substantial objective is to install a sense of trust in its citizens.
With the situation created by this decree, the sense of trust has been shattered.
It is not rocket science to realize that this regulation will only speed up the erosion of trust and the ongoing brain drain to the West.
A seriously dangerous step has been taken against public safety with this decree. What a shame...