ISSN 2330-717X

Turkey: Prosecutors With No Special Powers – OpEd

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By Ihsan Bal

Life in Turkey is full of extraordinary contradictions,

On one hand, there are yells about what is going on and the need to find the murderers the moment a politician, soldier, police chief, trade unionist, or journalist is killed.

But on the other, you have know-alls who tell you “You are getting above themselves, exceeding their powers, and how can you be investigating these matters?”

Think about it. Most people in society believe that Eşref Bitlis, a former commander of the Gendarmerie, was the victim of an assassination. But look again and you will see that the case has never been deeply investigated.

We know that only the hitmen involved in the murder of Uğur Mumcu,[ a famous journalist assassinated in 1992], have been caught. In the case of Necip Lebit Hablemitoğlu [an academic shot dead in 2002] things have not even reached that stage. But considerable advances have been made in exposing murders of national importance

The brazen murder in broad daylight of Mustafa Yücel, a High Court Judge and member of the Second Board of the Council of State, by Alparslan Aslan seems to have been largely explained. The case has now been included as part of the Ergenekon trial.

We also know that a number of plots along the same lines to murder leaders of public opinion and the ethnic minorities have been uncovered while they wer still in preparation.

Large quantities of ammunition have been seized by the authorities in places stretching from the Zir Valley to Eskişehir. In fact we have been given a chance to see how many of those defyıng the law in broad daylight are, with a total disregard for human life and the murkiest of connections, engaging in plots.

Is It You That is Going to Save This Country?

The small band of prosecutors who have succeeded in penetrating behind the series of provocative actions and their deep dark tunnels must be thoroughly fed up. They devoted their energy to trying to bring into being a stronger, more democratic, more transparent, Turkey, one with more of a conscience. The applause makes the earth and heavens groan. Hands up: the target is the prosecutors .

You work through the nights as well as days, not talking about days and weeks, and touch those who were previously held to be untouchable and as if it was in return for what you have done, you are left to struggle with a massive psychological campaign against you.

When not just your neighbours, wife and friends, but your children start to question what you have done, you give up. The question n that used to be heard in TV advertisements during intervals descends on you like a nightmare. “Is it really you that is going to save this country?” So you hand in your written applications.

Of course you have made some mistakes. But these criticisms which exceed any measure of fairness and mostly depend not on facts but on hostile intentions and the psychological campaigns trying to grind you down and encircle you completely.

You want to have no special powers. Why? Because you cannot find a positive answer to give to the questions “Does our country really want to be cleansed?” and “Are there really any people in this country who want to emerge into daylight from this darkness?”

So finally, just when you have been shattered into so many pieces, when you are finding it difficult to stand up straight, perhaps you want to hear some good news.

Well, those people in this country who think that Colonel Çillioğlu and Brigadier Bahtiyar Aydın and General Eşref Bitlis were killed in the course of doing their duty will recall with admiration your struggle to satisfy the conscience of society.

Perhaps we owe you a great debt of thanks.

Indeed there’s no doubt that we do.

You have raised the quest for justice up to a definite standard. We are grateful to you because you have demonstrated that it is possible to have the courage hold up a light against the darkness.

Ihsan Bal
Head of USAK Science Committee

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JTW

JTW - the Journal of Turkish Weekly - is a respected Turkish news source in English language on international politics. Established in 2004, JTW is published by Ankara-based Turkish think tank International Strategic Research Organization (USAK).

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