A judge or presidential candidate

A judge or presidential candidate

The latest consequent rulings of the Constitutional Court might be considered a “lecture in the separation of powers” to the tall, bald and bold man in Ankara aspiring to become an absolute ruler.

The same rulings might make people refusing to give up belief that democracy sooner or later will prevail in this land take a deep sigh of relief and say “There are judges in Ankara.”

This is a peculiar country. Nor our tall, bald, bold and ever-angry man yelling at everyone is like Frederick the Great [thanks to Can Dündar for recalling Fredrick and the miller story] nor Turkey is Prussia or our millers can stand in confidence against our tall man and say “There are judges in Ankara.” Unfortunately, the Turkish judiciary badly needs a reform, but each reform undertaken by the current political mentality has been producing a justice system worse than the previous one.

Some people may raise eyebrows and remember that the Twitter verdict became possible thanks to the individual application right which was made possible with the constitutional amendment done by the current political clan. Do we need any sort of consolation? As is said in that famous anecdote attributed to Nasraddin Hodja, the door must have been locked, security measures must have been taken, and we needed to be more careful, but for God’s sake was not the thief responsible as well. This country went through an extraordinary period during which disgusting things were exposed through equally disgusting methods. Most secret individual details, top security discussions and millions and billions of dollars, Euros and liras stashed in shoe boxes and “zeroed” at residences of top executive people were all exposed to a curious society. In that exposition of massive theft, corruption, favoritism – let’s simply call them “graft” –Twitter was mostly used. Why? Because acting on previous “Dişli” and such alleged graft cases the government had taken all necessary precautions and equipped itself with the power of clamping down private Web accounts. People behind this exposition of graft campaign believed the social media platform would be the best; they were right.

Amazingly, the statement from the Constitutional Court chief judge on the reasoning why the top court acted against the Twitter ban was a lesson in freedom of expression, recalling almost the 1976 verdict of the European Court of Human Rights in the Richard Handyside versus the British government case.

As that court ruling stressed, Haşim Kılıç said freedom of expression was sacrosanct. People might criticize a government even with some disgusting expressions, but their right of criticism could not be curtailed because they used such expressions. Thus he hailed the Handyside verdict of the ECHR that freedom of thought constitutes the backbone of a democratic society; is a must for the progress and development of every man; as a concept cannot be applicable only to ideas or information that are applauded by the majority or by the state, but equally to such ideas that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population; and is a requirement of pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness, without which there can be no democratic society. Similarly, the top court annulling the powers of the political administration in the new law of Judges and Prosecutors High Board (HSYK) was a move upholding the principle of independence of justice and separation of powers.

Is it not absurd now to say Kılıç was involved in all this not because he was a top judge, but someone looking to become an opposition candidate for the presidency?