Tight floodgates

Tight floodgates

Once upon a time, in a distant land with “ordinary” democratic governance, some eminent members of the council of ministers were embroiled in a nasty corruption scheme web. The ministers were accused of misuse of power, favoritism and syphoning off a considerable amount of money through shadowy deals with either land developers, money laundering operations, or through busting an international embargo on a neighboring state.

In that ordinary democracy, immediately after the issue found a way to expose itself in the media - before the democratically-elected and democracy-minded chief executive of that country captured an opportunity to make demands of them - the ministers involved immediately announced their decision to step down from office and presented their petitions for a parliamentary inquiry to be conducted into the allegations.

Neither they, nor their leader, nor an army of “journalists” from the allegiant media, tried to hide behind makeshift charges such as “evidence was gathered illegally,” “this is a political plot,” or worse “this is not just a plot against the accused ministers, the government is facing a coup attempt.” A hunt for members of an alleged “parallel judiciary” or a “parallel police force” was not launched either. Scores of judges, prosecutors, policemen, somehow all involved in the corruption probe or its judicial process, were not banished to remote parts of the country or “promoted” to trivial posts elsewhere.

They, in a perfect exemplary style befitting honorable politicians sure of themselves, helped Parliament conduct its inquiry and dispatch them to the High Court, so that they could get a “clean verdict from an independent court” that was obviously far more important and priceless than what might have otherwise been done. The majority of their ruling political clan raised their hands to declare a political “no need for trial” decision.

The prime minister, of course, immediately declared that he had no tolerance for theft, and that if the thief was his son then he would not compromise and would sever all contact with him (not just his son’s arm). When and if the ministers resigned or were dismissed from duty, he would undertake whatever was required to make sure that members of his political party align with justice, not with “party solidarity” that might be instrumental in helping the guilty get away with the crime they committed.

Of course, in such a normal and standard democracy, the lower courts would cease handling cases against other defendants of the corruption case, saying that the progress of the file at the lower court might jeopardize the progress of the parliamentary inquiry. Is it not a principle, after all, that while a case is in progress comments or decisions that might influence it must be avoided?

In a “standard” democracy, on the other hand, the government could not even think of either sending police against demonstrators or ordering the police to liberally use water cannons and all kinds of gas to disperse crowds demanding justice. On the contrary, the prime minister or even the president would join the crowds in demanding no tolerance to corruption in the state administration. Of course, in a “standard” democracy the top family of the country would have no concern that someone might dare to implicate the president or the entire family in such tragicomic allegations. Indeed, how could a president know that the ministers were guilty but fear that it would be a mistake to give an inch because giving that one single “concession” might open the floodgates, or kill the paper tiger in one stroke?

Of course, in the Turkish advanced democracy case, it is certain that all the decisions against the four ministers were part of an overall concerted campaign that was indeed aimed at taking down the government and putting an end to the political life of the most powerful President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Of course, claims that the ministers were corrupt, millions of dollars were stashed in shoe boxes, or that ministers helped businessmen obtain visas from third countries and make easy money through pre-arranged land development, are all exceptionally wrong.

The mostly legally recorded but entirely illegally released voice recordings, as well other concocted evidence (as in the previous Ergenekon, Sledgehammer, Oda TV and such pogroms - pardon - judicial cases, against the Kemalists, nationalists, intellectuals, and journalists) were proof of an attempted coup. By whom? By the “parallel organization” of a Pennsylvania-based 80-year-old Muslim cleric.
Thank God, Turkey has been saved again…