Defending law

Defending law

Sometimes I think about whether or not it has become boring that I frequently write about law.

I wish I did not have to. Those times when I wrote frequently about law were the times when law was violated the most. 

Today is such a time. The latest (I wish it will be the last) example of this is the indictment written for and case opened against journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül on the following charges: “Handling secret information belonging to the state for the aim of spying, disclosing it with the aim of spying, attempting to topple the government or attempting to prevent it from conducting its duties by using force and violence, knowingly and willingly assisting the armed terror organization of Fethullah Gülen without being a member of it.”

While those who barbarically attacked daily Hürriyet writer Ahmet Hakan were being released, aggravated life imprisonment, plus a life imprisonment and plus 42 years, were being asked for Dündar and Gül. 

I can only say, without any technical legal analysis, that they will be acquitted of the charges of spying, attempting to topple the government and assisting a terror organization. 

How do I know? I know it from the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) practices. I wrote about these practices here before. I think these cases were opened as a result of heavy political pressure. If there is no acquittal in the court, the verdict will be reversed at the Supreme Court of Appeals, or finally at the Constitutional Court and ECHR.

Weren’t there cases opened asking for life sentences with charges of “attempting to topple the government, association with a terror organization” in connection with the Gezi Park incidents? Weren’t all acquitted? 

In Turkey, we are passing through a severe period where indictments are written for people according to the political discourse of the government; arrests are made and pro-government trustees are appointed…  

But, court cases opened over the Gezi Park incidents with similar claims ended in acquittals. Why, then, were there cases opened as an “attempted coup?” Because it was the discourse of the government. Here, this is the issue.

The ECHR ruled it was a threat to freedom of expression that a penal case could only be opened with the permission of the Justice Ministry. We have gone past this long ago; indictments are written according to the government’s political accusations. 

Until 2014, in Turkey, it was a crime to pressure the justice at the investigation stage and at the trial stage. The government, with the omnibus bill it processed on June 18, 2014, changed this. With an amendment to Penal Code Article 277, pressuring, influencing or sending orders to judicial staff were decriminalized. 

If there was no pressure on the investigations, then why was this amendment made? In which rule of law in the world it is not a crime to order, pressure or influence the judicial staff at the investigation phase while the indictments are being written? 

If the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (Ak Party) legal experts can enlighten me, I would be delighted. 

This or that indictment may have been written based upon the genuine opinion of the prosecutor. But the fact that with this amendment the door to pressure justice has been opened and because the public distrust toward the justice is quite widespread, even in the most sincere indictments, doubts emerge. 

Could you talk about justice in such a country? Justice can only be built by complying with the fundamental principles of law. 

Legal issues should not be approached with the question “Who?” or “For whose benefit, for whose disadvantage?” 

On the contrary, they should be approached with “How? Is it consistent with universal law and good governance principles?” Otherwise, there will not be justice and peace in the country; as a matter of fact, there is not…