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Attempt against democracy and stability in Turkey, the Judiciary’s harakiri

Friday 28 March 2008, by Cengiz Çandar

Since the minute the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya, filed a motion seeking to shut down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Friday evening, it was so obvious that one, even children playing in street, cannot relate this application with the law for a minute.

Because of this, statements issued by either the Chief of the Appeals Court, or the top officials in the Republican People’s Party (CHP) or the Democratic Left Party (DSP) to talk about “respect for law” or “independence of judiciary” and to call for waiting for the court’s decision are of no value.

The chief prosecutor being a jurist doesn’t hold back the “political” nature of his motion and doesn’t make the application “legal” either. In fact, the state prosecutor has already remained under vehemence of his move so much that Chief Judge Hasan Gerçeker and some of Yalçınkaya’s colleagues had to defend him. “High judiciary” suddenly moved from an “offensive” against politics and democracy in Turkey position on Friday to a “withdrawal for defense” position on Monday, because the Turkish judiciary has been wounded fatally due to an attempt to shut down the AKP dropped into the agenda early on Friday evening. The judiciary, as one of the three powers, committed harakiri, in a way.

Yalçınkaya’s indictment built with newspaper clippings, ideological considerations, prejudices and mind-reading in broken Turkish bears characteristics of a case study to teach law students “how a prosecutor indictment cannot be written” or “how an unlawful indictment is written.

There could be nothing more destructive for the Judiciary concept and judicial authority in Turkey than submission of such an indictment prepared by a top prosecutor and having the signature of a top prosecutor.

However putting all the blame on the chief prosecutor of the Court of Appeals for this “attempt” could be misleading. He must have been a “sluggish rapporteur” at the most. As a matter of fact, both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and indisputable “social democrat” Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay made statements relating this “move” with the “Ergenekon crime gang investigation.” Günay even said the senior prosecutor was “directed” by others.

In other words, the “incident” implies the chief prosecutor is not alone and others have something in it.

I am of the same opinion from the first minute.

I was attending an international conference titled “Cost of Conflict in the Middle East” over the weekend in Antalya. State Minister Mehmet Aydın; Egemen Bağış, AKP deputy leader for foreign affairs, both of whom Yalçınkaya asked to be banned from politics for five years were present.

In sessions, the topic of discussions was the Middle East but at dinners, private conversations or backstage the topic was Yalçınkaya’s motion to shut down the AKP.

What do you say; do you think it’ll be closed ?” was the question I was asked often. “This rather seems a big political engineering project beyond the chief prosecutor. He must have been its rapporteur only,” I replied. That is, “we are at the threshold of a political process not a legal process”…

And moreover, this “political engineering” project is not devised cleverly. Some of the AKP officials who are asked to be banned from politics are ministers and some others are parliamentary representatives. A group of ministers, administrators and deputies are not included in the list consisting of 71 AKP officials. Arithmetic efforts to cause a crack inside the party and to break down the AKP’s parliamentary majority grab the attention.

The timing of submitting of this indictment ornamented with rambling allegations to the Constitutional Court is striking as well. It was sent to the court early Friday evening, not Thursday or Monday and not during office hours. The nimble enemies of democracy with their pathetic knowledge on the economy took pain over the “action” to shoot Turkey in the foot after the stock exchange closed for the weekend.

Remember, the e-warning by the General Staff was also issued on a Friday around midnight.

The mentality that dares to shut down the government party winning 47 percent of votes in the elections held just a half year ago left its mark on Turkish and world history. And is this mentality a fool or blind not to know or not to see that the AKP cannot be closed within 24 hours and cannot be toppled from the government by such an attempt?

It’d better not. So this “move” seems like a ring of not a short- but middle- or long-term power struggle and of petty calculations to drag Turkey into instability in order to get results in this struggle.

However, they are ideologically bankrupted so bad that the tools applied along the way are a poorly structured document in broken Turkish, as in the e-warning of April 27, 2007; and unsound legal evidence revealed inside with unconvincing and broken Turkish again, as in the indictment of the chief prosecutor dated March 14.

Weakness of the instruments doesn’t show that they are not determined or not eager to kill stability in Turkey. For this reason, no one should entertain any quick judgments to say that this last attempt will strengthen the AKP.

“Ankara bureaucracy” together with the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and a group of media members should see that a systematically planned move was attempted to blacken democratic horizons in Turkey and we should all take its consequences very seriously.

The Council of Europe is an institution established to protect pluralist democracy and the rule of law and supervise the European Union and key political figures in Europe. The Council commenting on the closure attempt against the AKP pointed out that this is “incompatible with the democratic values of Europe”. We should immediately take note of these remarks.

At this point, the government party, Erdoğan being at the top, should undertake critical responsibilities. They should overhaul the messy attitude adopted since the elections and the disappointments they caused in the democratic public opinion. The government officials should also be self-critical and determine new strategies accordingly while devising tactics correctly and follow the “alliance policy” when needed.

At this point of an attempt against democracy that we have reached, the government’s losing direction and priorities have a significant share in their messy attitude. Picture a justice minister who is unaware of a 162-page indictment of the senior prosecutor in its preparation stage. There is a deputy prime minister who throws himself in front of any democratic openings but his name is not in the list of AKP officials whom the prosecutor seeks five-year bans from politics for them.

The AKP should pull itself up, enliven “democratic reformist spirit,” and promptly make legal and constitutional arrangements to make political party closures impossible, in order to set Turkey free of this pro-ban legal order. The AKP should also have consultations with the public and decisively put the country back on “democracy” track for the European Union accession bid.

This latest “anti-democratic attempt” caused a fierce reaction in public conscience. It is the high time to clear a victory way to democracy by legally assuring this “mass feeling.”

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Source : Wednesday, March 19, 2008 TDN

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