Those journalists will be out

Those journalists will be out

Turkey is an interesting country; no, not at all; it is a sui generis, or peculiar, country.

Like on most other issues, Nasraddin Hodja, the famous folk tale hero of not only Turkey but a larger geography spanning Iran and Azerbaijan, has a rather interesting joke on this issue as well. According to Hodja’s joke, to make a blessed man happy, God lets his donkey be lost so that he could jubilate in finding it.

Of course neither Mustafa or other journalist friends in prison – mostly without sentencing – are donkeys, but it appears we blessed friends of them might soon jubilate seeing as they were “granted” their liberty by the government of the almighty de facto absolute ruler of the country. I am not exaggerating at all, that’s what Bülent Arınç, the deputy prime minister and the minister in charge of weeping, disclosed during a visit to Germany.

Indeed, foreign trips of the absolute ruler and his viziers are becoming more and more productive. Should they be barred from staying in Turkey since they apparently serve better while touring somewhere else?

According to Arınç, the government has completed work on a new draft. He did not say whether he was talking about the new judicial package, but he probably was. Anyhow, according to Arınç, the new draft was almost completed, would be discussed at the Cabinet meeting on March 11 and would be disclosed to the public the very same day. A distinction would be made on propaganda and criminal acts, and propaganda activity that did not include violence would no longer be a crime.

But was political propaganda devoid of violence a crime in Turkey? Unfortunately so. Even though the notorious articles 141-142 or 163 of the former penal code criminalizing communist or fundamentalist propaganda and organizations have long become history, it is a peculiarity of this country but they indeed reshaped; contents altered and with new names and descriptions embedded in new laws.

Deception has become such a sophisticated art that often it takes a very long time even for the masters of such deception to realize the great works of deception they indeed crafted.

Arınç proudly declared the good news to journalists: “Like Britain, Germany, Spain or the U.S., we will be differentiating propaganda and inciting violence… Even if someone is involved in [adverse] propaganda, if with such propaganda he is not inciting people to the use of arms, to violence, that will no longer be a crime.” So Arınç expects those journalists, mostly imprisoned because of operations against the KCK, the urban organization of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), will all regain their freedom.

Turkey must find a way to release the imprisoned thousands of KCK people if it wants to continue the current Kurdish opening. Claiming to have a Kurdish opening while thousands of people remain behind bars just because they were Kurdish political activists would be a farcical situation. Would that be awkward? In this sui generis country, not at all. As is often used in articles on Turkey, everything has a logical explanation in Turkey and often things go exactly the other way around with still a perfect and plausible explanation.

What about journalists who are behind bars because they did not surrender and continued criticizing the government? The vendetta is continuing. Yesterday Mustafa, today Pulur, Dündar and Cemal, tomorrow, God knows who or which paper.