‘We’re watching game of powers in horror’

‘We’re watching game of powers in horror’

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
‘We’re watching game of powers in horror’

Boyner says Turkey has to allow for freedoms with no exceptions and prepare new laws, including ones covering courts with special powers and the anti-terror fight. AA photo

Turkey is watching with growing trepidation and horror as elements within the state clash over a judicial challenge to the country’s spy service and the government’s attempts to defend it, the head of Turkey’s top business association said yesterday.

“We are watching the clash between the powers with horror and a growing sense of lost trust,” Ümit Boyner, the chair of the Turkish Industry & Business Association (TÜSİAD) said yesterday in reference to an apparent battle among the police and judiciary on one side and the intelligence services on the other after a special prosecutor called the country’s spy chief in for questioning last week for his contacts with Kurdish militants. The call forced the government to draft a bill – which was subjected to debate for the first time yesterday – to protect National Intelligence Organization (MİT) personnel from prosecution.

Speaking at a press conference about TÜSİAD’s 2012 program, Boyner said Turkey had launched a democratization initiative in the early 2000s but added that the gains it had made so far were “insignificant.”

The process that started in 2008 to clean the gangs within the state has now come to a point where many question whether this process is taking place within the norms of the universal rules of law, said Boyner. Turkey is distancing itself from the rule of law, said Boyner, highlighting the number of people who have been jailed on terrorism charges.

“As the phrase goes, many people, from the journalist to the civil servant, from security personnel to academics, are regarded in the eyes of many citizens as ‘those poor souls killed in the crossfire.’ Once they get into the system, it becomes nearly impossible to get news of them. The process continues very slowly,” she said. “This lack of confidence increases polarization in society.”

While it is important to destroy the illegal organizations within the state, it is equally important that the Turkish justice system adopt universal legal criteria as soon as possible, said Boyner.

“What is also equally important is that the [military] tutelage system comes to an end not only through civilianization but that the responsibilities and duties of the powers in the state becomes clearer and into conformity with the norms of law, transparency and accountability,” she added.

TÜSİAD unconditionally supports the government and Parliament’s right to make policy, she said but added that drafting a new law to protect MİT and other personnel from prosecution was just a stop-gap solution and would not create a democratic state.