Turkey is a champion
Finally a field has been found in which Turkey has absolute global leadership.
No, hold on: This is not an article criticizing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). This is an article depicting the Turkey’s bitter scorecard with the International Court of Human Rights over the past 52 years. That is to say, from left to right, hardcore Islamist fundamentalist to diehard secularist, all of the parties that have shared at one point or another in history from 1959 till today the responsibility of governing Turkey have played a part in this shame.
For the overall number of cases against a country Turkey comes first with a total of 2,747 cases. Some 29,929 complaints filed against Turkey with the ICHR, that is, 59 percent of overall applications, were dropped by the international court. The 2,747 cases that have been finalized constitute just 15 percent of the 15,940 complaints against Turkey the court has agreed to hear.
Thanks to the Cyprus problem Turkey has mostly received sentences for violations of property rights: a total of 611 cases. Another Turkey is also apparently an outstanding champion as regards violations of the right of freedom and security: a total of 554 cases.
Turkey received sentences in 207 cases brought against the country complaining of violations of freedom of thought. This figure appears lower compared to other categories, doesn’t it? That’s absolutely right, but everyone must have confidence in this country. Once all of the internal judicial mechanisms are exhausted, soon there will be thousands of new cases brought against Turkey for gross freedom of thought complaints.
Even putting aside the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer cases and other such thrillers of the AKP’s “advanced justice,” as well as the more than 100 journalists behind bars, there are some trivial cases such as that of a student who was dismissed from a Manisa university because he insisted on being a Kemalist, another student expelled from his university because he criticized Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, and of a student who faces up to 42 years in prison because he had three eggs in his pocket (presumably to throw at a politician in protest). All of these underline the fact that in years to come Turkey will maintain its championship status in the field of freedom of thought violations.
Is it possible for the past and present justice ministers of this country to accept that the ICHR has found Turkey at fault in 729 cases of failing to adhere to the principle of fair trial, or that it has condemned Turkey in 493 cases of excessive trial lengths? And is it possible to reconcile with advanced democracy and the notion of justice the fact that Turkey was sentenced in 138 cases of failing to conduct efficient investigation?
Turkey has been jubilantly celebrating for the past few days the release of the four journalists, among them Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, after they had been held captive for more than a year on charges of belonging to a terrorist gang striving to prepare conditions that would lead to a military coup in the country. Some of their other colleagues, Mustafa Balbay and Tuncay Özkan, have not only been in prison for more than four years but have been held in seclusion for almost one year. These colleagues might not have written in a fashion appreciated by the government, but in what criminal action were they involved, other than writing that they have been behind bars for so many years?
Because of the release of these four, in the corridors of the media, greased as they are with unconditional submission to power, talk is afoot that there might be a climate change in Turkey. Our colleague Müyesser Yıldız, however, is begging from her prison cell that she at least be given a cat to share her maddening solitude… And Turkey is a champion.