Sickening questions

Sickening questions

There are probably other people who might have woken up to the real world and realized how terribly most of us were being held hostage with the veil of fear covering the nation since the night of July 15. Unfortunately there is a very confusing situation in the country.

Pope Francis wrong when he exclaimed he did not speak on the situation in Turkey because “I am still not sure with the information that I received on what is happening there. […] I listen to the information that is arriving… and the thing still isn’t clear?”

Who were the people who tried to overthrow the president and the government? Who was the number one plotter? After all the confessions, leaks, confusing and contradicting testimonies, can anyone answer why the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), police intelligence, the military and the police did not act from 3 p.m. - when a captain told the intelligence agency that night there would be a coup and he was ordered to be the pilot to bombard the MİT headquarters – and the time the coup got underway later the same evening? Or, could anyone say why even though he was informed about the developments at 4 p.m. Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar issued some incompetent orders, made a tour of the Land Forces Command premises, had a coffee there, later spoke briefly with the intelligence chief (at around 6 p.m.) but did not inform force commanders, the prime minister or the president? Why did the top commander continue to stay in his office despite knowing something odd was developing?

Of course no one can provide a convincing or reasonable answer either to how force commanders were caged by the rebels. Nor could anyone explain why there were so many contradictions in the many statements of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on when he was informed of the coup attempt or how he decided to leave his hotel. Nor could anyone so far provide convincing information about how the president’s plane luckily escaped all surveillance by the rebels. Who ordered the team of rebels who were to “take” the president to wait until a certain hour? Was anyone trying to make sure the president escaped the hotel first? We do not have any satisfactory answers to any of these questions.

Nor was there adequate and satisfactory information regarding the miraculous landing of the presidential plane at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul. If the rebels and the loyal police officers were all using the same wireless system and other communication networks, how could all people – including airport police, firefighters and such – know of the landing of the president’s plane but luckily the rebels not figure out?

It is a famous Turkish saying that one should not change horses while passing through a river. That was what the president reminded people of while explaining why he decided to keep the top spy of the country on the job despite the obvious flop which indeed played a key role in the death of over 250 people during the coup attempt. The president might have been killed; the prime minister and cabinet members might have been slaughtered. But, we should not change horses while crossing the river. I am not satisfied with that. What is in the possession of the intelligence chief that Erdoğan could not touch him? Should I not ask this question? Am I a traitor if I ask such questions?

The top general of the country and the force commanders – excluding the Navy commander, who was apparently at a wedding and escaped the rebels – who were all caged along with scores of other top commanders by their private assistants were kept on the job as well. Why? What was it that merited them staying on the job despite their awkward and publicly exposed gross failure as commanders? Could anyone trust these guys, proven losers, with national security?

If this state and current administrators could be that tolerant, how could it happen that without being sentenced officers and generals were purged with a decree in power of law (thus deprived of the right to appeal), placed behind bars, all their bank accounts frozen, assets taken over and families ordered out of public lodgings? Individuality of crime is fundamental in all countries that respect law. The principle of “ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat,” or its English equivalent “presumption of innocence,” is the foundation of justice. Particularly for those who were not captured in the coup attempt but rounded up based on assumptions, hearsay or because of testimonies of some “discreet informants,” evidence must be carefully considered and any spillover effect on innocent lives must be prevented.

I know of a family, a young general and an academic wife with one son on overseas education. The general learned about the coup and returned home from overseas duty. He was kicked out of the military, arrested, had bank accounts frozen and two houses the family had bought were taken over. With a husband in jail and a son without money in a foreign country, the academic wife was ordered out of public lodging. She could not go to the two houses the family used to have but are now taken over. Some empathy please. Even if the husband was guilty, what was the fault of the academic wife, or the son undergoing education abroad?

Erdoğan and many of his people claim they would not act with a revanchist and revengeful approach. Yet, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci summed it up when he declared: “We will make them [coup plotters] beg. We will stuff them into holes; they will suffer such punishment in those holes that they will never see God’s sun as long as they breathe. They will never hear a human voice. They will beg us to be killed.”

One of my readers asked, “What kind of savage mentality is this?” I do not have an answer, but am begging the rulers of Turkey, for God’s sake, show respect to human dignity and try to have some empathy for the families of the accused…