Zeynep Jane Louise Kandur
A great deal has been written about Turkey and Erdogan in the past months. It isn’t easy to understand what is really going on. We are inundated with infinite details about what is happening and what this bodes for the future of the country, the party and its leader.
However, when the situation is examined, something odd is detected. It is one thing for the judiciary and the police to open cases against elected officials for corruption. This is an important part of the checks and balance system. However, things have gone beyond this; it is being suggested that a democraticallyelected leader, elected by 50% of the population, should resign because some relatives of his ministers have been ACCUSED (not convicted) of corruption. It seems that the intention behind these arrests is not to prevent corruption, but rather to bring down the government; once again Erdogan is being depicted as a dictator who has sole control of the government, who has no respect for democracy or his people.
Prime Minister Erdogan is a strong and capable leader; there is no doubt about that. Thanks to cautious and careful planningby the AK Party government, in early 2013 the Turkish economy was thriving. Turkey was being lauded as a future leader of the region. AK Party seemed to have found the answer to how a devout Muslim can exist side-by-side with democracy. They represented the hopes of all Muslim nations; internationally it was accepted that AK Party is a liberal democratic party with conservative religious values.
In May 2013 Turkey was in the strongest position it had ever been in. Their debt to the IMF had been paid off; in fact, Turkey was in a position to loan money. Bids were being taken for the construction of the world’s largest airport, an international hub that would compete with many major European airports. Plans for Kanal Istanbul, a channel that will allow shipping to bypass Istanbul, preserving the ecology of the Bosphorus by freeing it from commercial shipping, were being made. A third bridge was planned to ease traffic congestion. A fast-speed train was to be opened in early 2014 and Istanbul had put its name forward for the 2020 Olympics.
But suddenly everything changed. In May 2013 the dollar was around 1.70 tl. Today, it is at 2.15 tl. The stock-market was around 93,000 index points, while today it has dropped to around 63,000 points. The latest crisis between the judiciary and the government has created this situation.
There seems to be a ridiculous claim being made here that in a case where the judiciary is pitted against the government, it must be the government, the duly-elected government, that is corrupt, rather than the judiciary, which consists of people who have been appointed.The corruption of the judiciary and police is something the West is not unfamiliar with. There was Operation Greylord in the 1980s in Chicago, where a total of 92 people were indicted, including judges, lawyers and police. And Justice Robert J. Nicholson, a respected Australian judge stated: “…judicial corruption permeates the exercises of judicial power in most countries in the world.”
There have been criticisms in Western media of the arrest of a large number of generals during the Sledgehammer trial, and doubt was cast on the charges brought. Erdogan also expressed his dismay at that time that so many generals were in prison. The same people who imprisoned these generals are the same people who are accusing AK Party of corruption today. When the judiciary was attacking the military the West blamed Erdogan, implying that he controlled the judiciary. Now the judiciary is attacking Erdogan.Once again, the West is blaming Erdogan, saying he is oppressing the same judiciary that he was earlier thought to be controlling.
The idea that institutions such as the military (as in Egypt) or the judiciary (as in Turkey) are unquestionably RIGHT is not only misleading, it is dangerous. It is clear that if a shadow organization exists within such bodies,it will act to secure its own interests and future, perhaps even going so far as to try to bring down the government. If judges and courts are not operating within the legal framework, if they undermine the legitimacy of the law and the government, this can only be to the detriment of democracy.
So, if the Turkish government is not controlling the judiciary, who is pulling the strings? The name of FethullahGulenand his group have come to the fore due to the unexpected and extreme reaction this individual gave to reforms proposed for the dershane– courses that offer after school programs to prepare students for exams.
The Gulen Group is generally depicted as a group of socially conscientious Muslims working to spread tolerance between religions. However, they also have a policy of selecting the brightest students from the dershaneand private schools they run, teaching them what to read and what to think;they direct them towards future careers. The Gulen Group prefers to steer students towards the military, police or the law.
The December 17 crisis was put into motion by some members of the police and judiciary; these individuals acted without informing their superiors. The prosecutor who started the case on December 25 did so without the knowledge of the chief prosecutor. The cases had been open for 18 months or more, but the heads of these institutions had not been informed. This suggests the existence of shadow institutions that are not answerable to the government, but rather to some other body.
There are other factors, international factors at play here. But that is material for another article. What we can say here is that no matter who is trying to trip Turkey up, AK Party is the party of 50% of the people. Erdogan is the elected leader. Turks will not stand by and let their elected leader be removed by non-elected bodies. They have seen this play before, and do not like it. Taking advantage of this crisis to make the party even more transparent and more answerable, AK Party and its leader will come out stronger than before.Last Mod: 08 Ocak 2014, 11:52