State of affairs now and then
There are two eras of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). One of them is the era when it was applauded by the West for being reformist and liberal; the other is the second period when criticisms on its authoritarianism increased.
The symbol of its first era is Turkey’s opening of accession negotiations with the European Union and its gaining of the “candidate country” status. At that time, Turkey was approved and applauded with banners that read “Yes, Evet, Si and Oui.”
At the same period, all the indicators in economy were also trending upward.
In the past five to six years, this course of events has turned upside down. The stronger the government got, the more authoritarian it became.
The deliberate, soft and inclusive discourse at the beginning was replaced by angry hate language.
International institutions that applauded Turkey now see our country as an “authoritarian democracy.”
I’m not going to make a long academic list of these criticisms and quote pages from international reports. I will only quote Işıl Karataş’s interview at daily Hürriyet, the Turkish judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR): “When viewed from Europe, Turkey is regarded as a country where freedom of speech and press is not protected and guaranteed in the essence of European standards.”
In this era, economic graphics, unfortunately, are also going downward.
Is it possible for esteemed judge Işıl Karakaş to be a member of the “interest rate lobby” or could she be guided by a “superior mind?”
Since she has given an interview to daily Hürriyet, could it be that she was influenced by Aydın Doğan? Or maybe by invisible creatures from Mars?
But there are files at the ECHR; there are Constitutional Court rulings regarding bans on Twitter. Can an honorable judge speak any other way?
Moreover, law professor Işıl Karakaş is one of the three candidates nominated by the government for the position of judge at the ECHR. During its reformist and liberal era, the AKP must have respected her jurist identity.
A commission by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe may quibble and turn down all three of the candidates nominated by governments if they find them incapable. You may appoint a partisan jurist to the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) but you cannot make him or her be accepted by the ECHR.
Karakaş is a jurist considered worthy by the assembly’s commission of being a judge at the ECHR. Those who are pursuing the truth would credit her, not the party’s propaganda machine.
Dead end street
A sad phenomenon is that Turkey stands in the same place at the ECHR with Putin’s Russia: “Countries neglecting the judgments of the ECHR the most are Russia and Turkey. There are Ukraine and Romania also…”
If the government accepts its place in this picture, then it is where words fail. But if they are uncomfortable with this and want to make a reputation with their quality of democracy, the way to this is not holding on to ridiculous conspiracy theories like “the interest rate lobby” or “superior mind.”
The “Hit them so they do not talk” campaign conducted against the Doğan Group is of no use but to reinforce the “authoritarianism” critics against the government.
Were the language and the stance of the government like this in their successful years? It should be the members of the AKP who should be the first to realize before anybody else that this anger language and attitudes are a dead end street.
If the government wants to be mentioned among advanced democracies and not with Putin’s Russia, and to be praised in the democratic world as it used to be and also grow in economy as it used to, the only thing it has to do is to sincerely adopt liberal democracy.