Everyone talks except constitutional lawyers

Everyone talks except constitutional lawyers

A change in the system is much more important than writing a constitution, and it leads to far more important consequences. 

Shouldn’t we vote acknowledging the issue without being lured with demagogical discourses that are in favor or against?

The people who should be the primary ones informing us are first and foremost constitutional lawyers.

Kemal Gözler, a professor and one of Turkey’s most respected constitutional lawyers, has called on people who have remained silent to speak. “Everybody speaks. The only ones who aren’t speaking are constitutional lawyers! We used to have colleagues appearing on TV screens as frequent as presenters. Where are they now?” he asks.

As indicated by Gözler, there are some people who speak but there is widespread silence. And again as indicated by Gözler, the expulsions of Professor İbrahim Kaboğlu, Murat Sevinç, İlker Gökhan Şen and Dinçer Demirkent with a recent state of emergency decree caused a chilling effect. They were among government circles of those who suffered a similar expulsion from universities with a decision made by the Feb. 28 regime, they have not shown an approach that could give hope to the new victims.

A statement by Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, who said that if an error had been made, it would be corrected, was not an approach that would leave a mark in our memories. In fact, nothing has happened. This means that they’ve been kicked out of universities without investigations. 

With this kind of policy, the government is making its job harder.

Whatever result prevails after the referendum, the government has paved the way for controversy that the referendum was held under the pressure of the state of emergency. It is necessary to avoid such debates so that the new system enjoys the widespread national legitimacy.

At an age when academia has become so global, it is impossible to keep it in a bell jar. 

I am not sure to what extent pro-government scholars and researchers are following, but references on Turkey in academic publications on issues like governance systems, democracy, the rule of law, populism, and checks and balances in global universities are getting more and more negative.

We can’t say “so what?” Can we call the evaluations made by the European Court of Human Rights, Freedom House, and European Commission’s progress reports “unimportant?”

Professor Kaboğlu is a very good example to see the problem.

No one could attribute any sort of Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) affiliation to Kaboğlu, who is a respected constitutional law professor not only in Turkey, but abroad as well.

His only title could be “opponent,” and that is a fundamental right in a democracy.

The expulsion of Kaboğlu and similar other expulsions from universities will harm Turkey’s democracy and its legal reputation. It will be criticized severely in academic articles and evaluation reports. It will be underlined that these expulsions have created a chilling effect on universities. All these will not be in favor of the government or Turkey.

The government is well aware of the importance of these institutions and these reports even if it uses demagogical rhetoric about them.

The government has set up a commission to review the expulsions by issuing a decree only one day before the European Council Parliamentary Assembly’s meeting on Turkey. It gave a message to correct injustices. 

But this is a process that will take roughly two years. The government should act faster in correcting mistakes and becoming tolerant toward different views. “Let them speak, let them debate.”