Strange things are happening in this country. A president was tweeting and complaining about anti-democratic elements of legislation, in a manner boosting expectations that he might return it to Parliament for reconsideration. Then, the same president tweeted to say he was assured by the government that the corrections he wanted would be made in the text, thus he signed the law into legislation, shackling Internet use in the country.
The ruling party wants to amend a controversial law domesticating, or taking effectively under its control the Judges and Prosecutors High Board (HSYK). Why? Because a constitutional amendment made two years ago by the same government did not achieve its desired purpose. On the contrary, it helped the once-upon-a-time coalition partner of the government, the Fethullah Gülen fraternity, to become more powerful at the HSYK. After a fierce row with the opposition, the president intervened and advised the government to achieve the changes it wanted through constitutional amendments. The government is trying to take the opposition parties hostage, promising that if they consider making constitutional amendments, it will stop legislating the controversial article. Negotiations between the ruling and opposition parties start on the issue with the government saying, “What I say must be done, or else we will walk out…” Naturally, the talks end inconclusively because of such a majoritarian understanding. So the ruling party majority in Parliament immediately, in one day, writes the bill on the controversial legislation on the HSYK.
Europeans, Americans and whoever is interested in human rights and justice in Turkey, opposition parties, and rights groups in Turkey weep for the deathly blow served to the already handicapped judicial independence in the country. The government, however, is busy creating further tension, fully aware that polarization of society is its only hope of survival through the allegations of massive grafts and worsening hegemonic leadership style. With fake claims that protestors harassed and even peed on “my covered pious female citizen” during the Gezi protests last summer, the prime minister continues the same rhetoric despite video footage of the incident showing that the woman was not attacked at all. Not only was she seen in video footage walking away from the scene unhurt together with her child and husband, but she apparently tweeted pro-government slogans during subsequent days, invalidating controversial forensic reports that her psychology was greatly shaken.
Years ago, there were news magazines worth reading in Turkey. The editors of one of those magazines decided one day to test to what extent Turks were obeying orders. Turkey had just come out of a military coup; the trauma of the coup period was still fresh. Two reporters from that magazine went to Istanbul’s Galata Bridge and ordered people to show their identification documents. With no exception, everyone obeyed. Seeing that, the editor tried to test something even more extreme, asking reporters to “order” people on the bridge to lie down for a body search. Everyone obeyed again. It was a test to see how obedient Turkish society had become.
Turks definitely are not so obedient today, but apparently the government still believes that through yelling, sheer rhetoric and polarization it can sufficiently scare people to surrender, forget about shoe boxes, allegations of full family size graft rings within the Cabinet and the dreadful claim that “sons learn how to steal from their fathers.”
The situation in Turkey is unfortunately just dreadful. As is said, you salt meat to prevent it from becoming rotten, but what to do if the salt is festered?