The non-progress report

The non-progress report

Wouldn’t it be great if students were allowed to write their own school reports? Or if hundreds of thousands of civil service aspirants just ignored the public sector recruitment exams, declared their own grades and places themselves in jobs of their liking?

The statement from our dear friend European Union Minister Egemen Bağış, that Turkey couldn’t care less what the EU progress report on Turkey said, what would be important for Turkey is the report it will issue for itself at the end of the year, was very much like the effort of a spoiled student to write his own school report card, as if it would mean anything to anyone. Once, 30 years ago, together with some friends, I tried in vain to convince our Russian literature professor at university that since we are all equals, perhaps we should decide together what questions would to be asked on the examination. The professor was unfortunately uncooperative, and we failed, but it would have been great.

Of course Turkey ought to write its own report, and try to achieve some sort of satisfaction, particularly if for some psychological and political reasons it needs to prove to itself that it is on the right track – even if that is not exactly the truth of the situation. It would of course be very difficult to convince our European allies to bestow some privilege upon Turkey, turn a blind eye to some oddities here and write a report as if everything is great.

How could the EU report that Turkey has begun to regress in terms of the political criteria for EU accession? Wasn’t it the same EU that so many years ago said Turkey’s progress on political criteria was sufficient to open accession talks? So what if some 100 journalists and publishers and around 600 university students, as well as many professors, are now behind bars? Isn’t this country eligible to punish terrorists? Yes, they might not have participated actively in any crime, but the able police intelligence and able prosecutors of this country have successfully concluded that they considered becoming involved in crime, and thus deserved punishment. How can the EU criticize Turkey for taking action against crime? All this is because of those nasty Greek Cypriots who happen to hold the term presidency of the EU.

How could anyone say it was excessive to sentence each those soldiers and former soldiers and their civilian collaborators to 20 years in prison, when they were all plotting to undertake a military coup in the country? How could the EU complain that those people were not given an adequate right to defense, and how could Turkey’s allies complain that all of the evidence was not properly considered before the court issued its verdict?

And what about those complaints regarding the trials of Kurdish terrorists? How can the EU not see that the thousands of people facing trial in connection with the so-called KCK trial were indeed trying to establish an alternate government in the country? If the official language of this country is Turkish, why would our European allies complain that people wishing to make their defense in Kurdish were denied the right to defense?

What about that complaint that the freedom of expression is being progressively curtailed in Turkey? As long as they are supportive of the policies and undertakings of the almighty government, isn’t one free in Turkey to express whatever ideas one might have?

Yes, Turkey should certainly sit down and write its own progress report, and document to the world an authoritarian regime in the making.