With this mindset, no democracy or peace is possible

With this mindset, no democracy or peace is possible

It was awful weather; there was heavy rain. It was the end of last April... We went to Roboski village, near the Iraqi border. We met the mourning mothers there, and they started talking to us one by one.

The loss of their beloved sons, plus the inequity and the injustice they were exposed to had made the mothers firm, proud, and upright. The warplanes of the state, on the night of Dec. 28, 2011 bombed the innocent sons of these mothers, tearing apart 34 souls with bombs.

This was a massacre; this was a “state massacre.”

It was maybe the biggest “unresolved murder” of the Republic of Turkey.

One and a half years have passed and those responsible have not been found. Who gave the instructions, who pushed the button, who bombed them, have all yet to be found...

A thick cloak of secrecy was put over the murder in Ankara. Moreover, the state begrudged the mothers an apology.

I still have the voice of that father, rising among the mothers, in my ears: “The prime minister, who struggled so much to get an apology from Israel for the nine people who died in the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, why does he not apologize for our 34 souls? Until justice visits Roboski, nobody should mention peace.”

Who else but the prime minister?

Journalist Ahmet Altan, because he criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for this huge pain experienced in Roboski, for this “state massacre,” has just been given a jail sentence of 11 months. This sentence has been converted to 7,000 Turkish Liras.

My question is this: Because of such a massacre, who else but the prime minister of this country is to be criticized? Who is to be held accountable for this open murder of the state?

While it is exceedingly apparent that the political power failed to meet its own legal and political responsibilities in the Roboski massacre, who else but the prime minister is to be criticized?

Criticism has been punished. Where is democracy? Where is freedom of expression?

Just like any person who has a sense of justice, a conscience, Ahmet Altan criticized Prime Minister Erdoğan in his column in daily Taraf on Jan. 4, 2012.

He was sentenced yesterday. Now, nobody should introduce freedom of speech caveats about insults, etc. There’s no credibility, none left now. The 10th article of the European Convention on Human Rights and the general principles, the verdicts of the Human Rights Court, are so crystal clear.

However, unfortunately, our laws and our mindsets on this matter still maintain their pathetic position of lack of democracy culture.

Erdoğan still makes those who criticize him get sentenced to jail with laws and a mentality that would not exist in a first-class democracy with the rule of law. While doing so, he is wasting time with questions about whether 15 percent, 50 percent or 85 percent of the PKK has withdrawn across the border, and hooks democratization to those questions.

There’s no plausibility whatsoever.

Those who indexed democracy to the PKK were the governments of the 1980s, 1990s, the Demirel school.

Apparently, we are going back to the old stuff.

What a pity!

The way things are going; with this mentality Turkey will not see peace, together with democracy.

This article was posted on the T24 news website on July 19. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.