Freedom of hypocrisy

Freedom of hypocrisy

Yesterday morning the police and prosecutors were busy again. They were rounding up some alleged criminals disguised as journalists.

Was not the prime minister right in his declarations that there are no journalists behind bars in this country? All those journalists behind bars – the number might have reached 80, 90 or more depending on the “ability” of the police which launched yet another “operation detain all” yesterday – are in prison not because they have some hazardous ideas or wrote some hazardous articles, but because they were involved in some common crime. Indeed, being a journalist cannot provide anyone with immunity similar to that enjoyed by parliamentarians who managed to get into Parliament before being arrested for some reason.

A friend wrote me yesterday that probably an era will come in this country one day when police will undertake operations against members of the media from the Muslim Brotherhood. As is often said, if one can wait long enough on the banks of a river, he can watch the remains of his enemies pass by. I wrote back to my friend: “I hope if such a day comes we will be able to stand up and declare our solidarity with the oppressed members of the profession with the full force of our lungs.”

The tall, angry, bold, bald and ill man appears to be determined to wipe away the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist gang. No one can say anything against a prime minister or government taking action against a major security risk provided everything remains within the scope of the law and illegality is not fought with some illegal undertakings.

Silencing its propaganda machine, disrupting its organization in cities, curtailing its recruitment capabilities and cutting its funds are all requirements of a successful fight against the PKK. It’s not just the current government – all Turkish governments since the 1984 start of the PKK’s separatist terrorist campaign have been trying to take such measures. This, however, is the first time the government appears to be ready to set the entire forest on fire with the “honest” and “applaudable” intention of getting rid of some beasts.

Pınar Öğünç wrote in daily Radikal this week. Excluding those colleagues detained yesterday under the disguise of the so-called Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case, 43 of the 72 journalists in prison were of ethnic Kurdish background. Is it not sad to see signs of repression of a section of the society in a country where the prime minister just very recently “sincerely” apologized to the people of Tunceli for the state crime unleashed on the province in the late 1930s in a discriminative and racist manner?
Can there be freedom of expression if in reality that freedom is limited with praise for the government and the almighty sole executive and those who dare to engage in criticism or express some ideas unwelcome to the absolute rulers are banished behind bars? Can such a country turn to France and say criminalizing objections to an alleged genocide is a curb on freedom of expression? Perhaps it is better to forget our crimes and condemn the French ones, very much like the French have been trying to do.