Reactions keep coming from the West
Strong reactions are coming from the western world. As the president and the prime minister have said, even “on a Sunday” they have issued statements condemning the Dec. 14 operation.
It would be a huge mistake to regard these reactions as an attack by foreign powers. Behind such an intense reaction against the operations on daily Zaman and Samanyolu TV, are the accumulated concerns on the state of affairs and the regime in Turkey.
When Turkey has a legal demand from EU countries, they say “we have a ‘rule of law’” and point to the courts. Yes, there were journalists in the U.K. arrested because of illegal tapping, but it was pronounced within the “rule of law,” so everything was normal.
Well, are we not a state of law; don’t we have a “rule of law?” Well, here is the problem.
Take a look at the reports on Turkey distancing itself from the principles of rule of law step-by-step by the U.S. State Department, Freedom House and the EU.
In the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights report in 2012, there were 11 referrals to “corruption” in Turkey’s section, while this figure rose to 18 in the 2013 report. Interference with justice was also criticized.
In its May 2014 report, Freedom House lowered Turkey’s standing on the list of world press freedom from 120th to 134th place.
Of course, there could be technical mistakes and political prejudices in these reports…
However, if you present the image of becoming authoritarian, then how others perceive you becomes more pessimistic.
Despite this, one cannot say these reports are entirely intentional. It is especially much more difficult to say the “EU Progress reports” are prejudiced. These reports are prepared after negotiating with Turkey on each topic. In the 2014 Progress Report, it is explained in detail how laws were frequently changed to make the judiciary align with politics, and how pressure was created through flash appointments and relocations.
With the influence of all of these accumulated reports, reactions are coming from the West even “on a Sunday” against the Dec. 14 operation.
Unless the government corrects this course of events, it cannot change opinions by producing more “betrayal from foreign powers” propaganda; on the contrary, negative reactions may increase.
If you notice, the focus of criticisms is not only on these practices against universal democracy, but also against this oppressive discourse at the same time.
The çArşı (football fan club) indictment is a typical example of the political administration’s influence on justice.
The prosecution that is now asking for life imprisonment, charging the çArşı group for a “coup attempt,” had only three months ago written an official document saying çArşı was not an organization.
However, in parallel with the government’s “Gezi is a coup” campaign, the same office of the prosecution opened a case against an “attempted coup” by çArşı. I had written this about the çArşı indictment: “I cannot say anything about what the court will rule because of the legal problems in the country, but final authorities such as the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will find this ‘excessive,’ and will say ‘this is not an attempted coup.’ If they do not rule this way, then I will write I have never studied law.”
Now, they are investigating the Gülen Community on charges of being a terror organization and attempting to stage a coup. It is clear as day that the community should be self-critical and withdraw from bureaucracy, restricting itself to the nongovernmental field.
But the coup charge is a political discourse. What the court may rule I cannot say, because of the problems regarding the independence of justice. They may be convicted of other charges and may be sentenced, but if they are sentenced for being a “terror organization and attempting a coup,” and if these sentences are not overruled by the Constitutional Court and ECHR, then I will write “It seems as if I have not studied law at all.”