Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart
Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul
Update from Turkey 6 July 2013:
Justice apparently is not such a strange notion to Turkish protesters as one would expect. It seldom gives a decision that respects international law and basic human rights. Most recently the Istanbul court has ruled that the objection to stopping the court ruling to cancel demolishing of Gezi Park is unlawful and that the park should be preserved as green space; this decision would set an example for all green spaces that are currently under occupation by construction companies and security forces who try to keep civilian protesters away from green spaces. Although this declaration might seem hopeful, and appear to be a final decision regarding all events surrounding Gezi, it actually is a ruling that is still open-ended. There might yet be a final opposition to the court ruling and even a change of the law to invalidate the court decision.
In fact it is a general problem that laws are interpreted in a very liberal manner, usually in favor of the government. While it is a very common phrase to hear from the Prime Minister or members of the cabinet “I have given orders to my judges, they will handle this issue delicately,” for the remainder of society, justice remains a dream far away on the horizon. Not only can one not actually observe constitutional rights and liberties being respected, but no one can actually see any kind of protection of civil rights unless it is in strong alliance with or an integral part of the governing AKP.
Most recently, concerning civil liberties and constitutional rights, the Istanbul Chief of Police, Huseyin Capkin, declared that whoever goes against the law will face tough consequences. While this statement might sound promising to many, it has a follow-up. “Those who aim to turn any event into a protest, or organize a rally, will of course face intervention. Gezi Park is open to public visit as long as there is no political agenda. We will allow a return to normality once people stop turning the park into a political atmosphere. Otherwise, of course we will intervene.”
The police forces in general misinterpret any law they read. They conclude that any kind of protest is against the law, as they have been ordered to stop any anti-government protest. Moreover, they take liberties in interpreting the Turkish Language Association’s definition of a coup, which concludes that “any attempt to force a government out of office through democratic means or by force is a coup.”
The injustices caused by police forces do not end there; as one looks at the arrest notices in Izmir concerning the Twitter users, it can be seen that they were arrested without any court approval to perform any kind of surveillance or control of their online written material. Obviously what happened was that police took the liberty of spying on people’s written online material and arrested them under the suspicion that they might be “insulting to the state.”
The majority of the people who were arrested in Izmir were accused of being members of the main opposition party, CHP (Republican People’s Party), IP (Labor Party), TKP (Turkish Communist Party), ÖDP (Freedom and Democracy Party), or NGOs varying from Kemalist groups to socialist groups, as well as labor unions.
The police reports concerning Gezi conclude that the media are partially responsible for everything, through not reporting and causing the social media to replace the regular media, which are much more controllable through governmental force. Moreover, the university senates were accused of participating in a “coup attempt” against the government by allowing opposition voices into the forefront of representation of the educational institutions.
While all protesters have been declared “terrorists” by the government and accepted as such by the police, the riot police who participated in the “quest” to end civilian protests were given 24 wage bonus payments for their “positive contributions to the suppression of revolts.” The biggest bonus payment – over 3,000€ – was given to the chief of the Istanbul riot police, for sending out a text message that glorifies all the violence carried out by the police against civilians, and calling their acts “a legend in the history of Turkey.”
While what prevails in Turkey at the moment is basically authoritarian, and even quasi-military, rule without complete participation of the military, it cannot be declared to be such and continues to be called “democratic” under heavy police-state guarantees. While a majority of the people in government continue to defy the military intervention in Egypt, they do not shy away from calling the military into action against peaceful protesters who are petitioning for recognition of their democratic rights and guarantees of internationally recognized freedoms.
Lastly, concerning Egypt and hearing the concerns of the Turkish authorities, it is important to cite the Turkish Language Association’s definition of the word “coup,” of historical importance to the situation:
Coup: “Ousting a government through use of force or democratic means; change of political system”
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