Transparent Turkey

Transparent Turkey

Unable to save the sons of the ministers and scores of associates sent behind bars by a prosecutor not yet taken under control the government and the police, judiciary and other state establishments under its full and unconditional control started implementing some proactive measures. Throughout the country policemen, including provincial chiefs and the department chiefs at Ankara headquarters, will all be investigated and all those considered “close” or “feeling sympathy” for anyone but the prime minister will be banished. To start with some few hundred of policemen, including Istanbul’s top cop, all senior police chief of Istanbul, İzmir and a dozen of department chiefs serving at Ankara police headquarters were removed to less important if not trivial duties. This operation of course will be continued to put an end to early morning ambushes at residences or offices of the sons of ministers or their partners.

The prosecutor probing alleged graft, bribe, misuse of office and such claims by the so-called Shoe Boxes Gang was provided with the assistance of two senior prosecutors to accelerate the probe and bring an end as soon as possible the sufferings of the sons of the ministers. In the mean time, with a readjustment of the duties of prosecutors’ degree – though it was a little bit contrary to established practices and the decisions of the Judges and Prosecutors High Board (HSYK) – the two prosecutors sent to assist the probe have become masters of the probe as they were senior… Plus, with an order stressing that signatures of two prosecutors would be enough to initiate and conclude any undertaking by the prosecutors team the original prosecutor that launched the probe was effectively sidelined.

Strange, is it not? A few years ago, probing an equally explosive Ergenekon file the very same prosecutor now tried to be sidelined was provided with an armored car from the Prime Ministry and the prime minister was praising him as the exemplary prosecutor.

Also, a new order was issued for prosecutors and policemen engaged in graft or such probes. Accordingly prosecutors and policemen are required to report their superiors before undertaking any such operation. This of course remained everyone the so-called Lighthouse Probe described in Germany as the biggest corruption case of the post-War era that thanks to such efforts remained inconclusive for months and eventually all the people involved were “laundered.” Now, very much like what happened during the Lighthouse probe before taking in someone or ambushing a place police will have to report to their superiors, to the government, get permission and then ambush… Can you imagine police getting permission from the interior minister to ambush the house or office of the minister’s son? Or getting permission from the minister to ambush office or residence of the son of another minister?

These were not of course sufficient to enhance the scope of transparence. Effective this last weekend all press rooms at police stations and provincial police departments were closed down and news people were informed that they no longer have free access to police buildings. Now, they can only enter such buildings if and when they are invited.

In Turkey everyone is accustomed to the existence of gangs in all walks of life. Yet, this is the first time we are witnessing claims that there is a gang within the Cabinet. Not only their sons, but four ministers are already implicated in the graft claims and there are allegations that the ring of crime is far wider and might even include the one at top and his progeny…

Is this really a fight between an Islamist clan and an Islamist government? If Ergenekon was an operation to clean Turkey’s intestines, can this be called explosion of Turkey’s state sewer?