Turkish prosecutors and janitors share a defect
BELGİN AKALTAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
CİHAN photoThey both have the same problem. Let me explain.
Oh, I hope prosecutors do not prosecute me for this. This is an opinion piece and I am writing my opinion. And I am referring to other opinions which have been published in Turkish papers throughout the month. Also, I have great respect for janitors. I wish I could be one. I hope janitors do not get angry at me and sweep me away.
Actually, I have already started explaining the similarity. Let me explain more: The prosecutor has power. He
or she can prosecute people and can make their lives miserable, sometimes for no reason.
As columnist İsmet Berkan wrote in daily Hürriyet on Jan. 17, even though there is no rise in crime, there has been a rise in our prosecutors’ appetites over the past years. According to the Judicial Records Statistics, our prosecutors and specially authorized prosecutors investigate way too many people. Less than 40 percent of those investigated have cases opened against them.
When prosecutors investigate, they are able to bug their phones, turn their bank accounts upside down, detain some of them and arrest them afterward. In a simple simulation, among 100 people investigated by prosecutors, only 38 of them have cases opened against them. Of them, only about 13 are actually found guilty.
We can say prosecutors spend most of their time in prosecutions that go nowhere.
Janitors are the same. With the slight bit of power they have, they want to oppress, suppress and crush people. Tell a janitor there is an imaginary line over there and it is his duty not to let anybody pass. He will feel like a king. He will not let anybody pass. When he sees a woman, he will become more of a despot. When a weak, short, shy-looking, very young woman or very young man approaches him, he will become a lion. If another janitor colleague of his comes along, he will shred him or her to pieces. If the general manager or administrative manager in the building comes near, he will become a rat. I’m not exaggerating. Try it. In the place of the janitor, insert a shuttle bus driver or a civil servant from the land registry office. This is – kind of – the essence of a Middle Eastern society.
Is this far-fetched? I don’t know. Let’s ponder more…
Turkish people have a power problem. All of us, with no exception, each and every one of us, get intoxicated with power. We do not know how to manage power. There are Receps everywhere in Turkey. That’s why we have so many traffic accidents. Every driver thinks they are better than the other one and have some kind of superiority over others. He has a better car or he has the skills to drive better with a lousy car.
Give some power to any Turkish person, and then sit back and watch him or her change into a Saddam or Gadhafi. Or Milosevic. I cannot forget the comment from an Iraqi person complaining about the American invasion: “We used to have one Saddam before. Now, we have a Saddam at every corner.” I’m sure there is a Gadhafi on every street in Libya now.
This reminds me of the person distributing food at the SSK Göztepe Hospital, on the Asian side of Istanbul. By the way, that hospital has become a wonderful place under the administration of Istanbul Medeniyet University, which I will write about in another piece. Well, during my mother’s illness, we stayed there for a long time. The person distributing food there would arrive with a trolley full of all kinds of food. The food is plentiful and pretty good, actually. When I asked for diabetic food, which was plenty, they would refuse to give it to me.
Well, one day, I found myself shouting at them in the corridor and even doctors and nurses coming out of their rooms could not succeed in immediately calming me down. I was kind of a secret hero afterwards among the patients (who were well enough – it was the ward of the seriously ill) and their relatives and friends taking care of them. I mean my mood was the one of a caretaker of a dying patient and all I wanted was an apple, soup and brand bread.
I am sorry for my behavior (actually I am not). From that ugly scene, my imagination took me to another scene, like a flashback in a film. I’ve never been to jail, but I immediately imagined what a prison guard would do to prisoners when he is given authority. This stupid person, this nobody, the food distributor, if he and she can do this with the slightest bit of (imaginary) power they think they have, then imagine what a prison guard can do to you behind closed doors.
Excuse me if I sound elitist (which I actually am), but this guy or girl or this prison guardian is almost nobody. I mean how many prison guards or food distributors in a hospital do you know in real life?
Well, none, I bet. In normal life, you don’t see these people, but in extraordinary circumstances, they oppress you the moment they have the opportunity. Company shuttle drivers are the same also… Sometimes the “kapıcıs” – the superintendents in apartment buildings.
I really don’t know what the cure is: Transparency? Freedom? Democracy? Gezi Park? Kabataş Ferry Station cameras? Sex? Good sex? Education? Sex education? Anti-Recep pills?