EMRE – Darkness of Soma, darkness of Turkey

Darkness of Soma, darkness of TurkeyThe mining accident in Soma still dominates public debate. State officials promise that justice will be served. However, almost no reasonable Turkish citizen believes it. There are three main reasons that cause people not to believe what government officials say.First, people have lost their trust in the government and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan. A few years ago, whenever there was a problem, people thought that at least ErdoIan and the government would solve it. Many considered ErdoIan as the fix-it guy who solves people’s problems. Whether this was real or not, people perceived ErdoIan as a kind of hero who always worked with the people against the state bureaucracy.However, in recent years, people have realized — ErdoIan himself helped them a lot to realize this — that ErdoIan is no longer the people’s representative. He became the representative of the state once he fully controlled the state. Whenever there is a problem, ErdoIan is no longer defending the people but defending state bureaucracy and his government.It happened in the tragic mining accident. When people were expecting him to defend their rights, he not only defended his government’s wrongdoing but he also defended the mining company. He gave examples from the 19th century to justify the accidents. He said it is in the nature of the mining business to lose lives.During the old regime, it was only state security bureaucracy, police and gendarmerie which were oppressing the people. ErdoIan was defending people against police brutality. Under his regime, not only have his police and security bureaucracy been oppressing citizens, but also ErdoIan and his associates have started hitting people.Many commentators questioned how ErdoIan and his associates could hit citizens. ErdoIan has yet to answer the criticism. It was a striking example to show the difference between the old ErdoIan as the people’s prime minister and the new ErdoIan as the regime’s prime minister.To me, the most striking picture that showed the transformation of ErdoIan was the funeral ceremony of those miners. If it was in the past, I am sure that no matter what the circumstances were, ErdoIan would have gone to the funeral prayer and joined in the funeral and recited the Quran for those miners. The new ErdoIan — forget about reciting the Quran for those miners on the scene — did not even participate in the funeral ceremony in Soma. Instead he prayed from a distance, in Istanbul, and his media published that prayer as a headline story.It was telling to show that ErdoIan could not participate in the funeral ceremony on site. The funeral ceremony was not only the indicator of the physical distance between ErdoIan and the people of Soma, but it was also an indicator of the mental distance between him and his people.Sadly, it was not the people who distanced themselves from ErdoIan, it was ErdoIan who chose to distance himself from his people for the sake of defending his government and the state bureaucracy.Second, people have lost their faith in the justice system. It is obvious that there is a close relationship between the mining company and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Just a few months ago, the energy minister went to the mine and showed the mine as one of the few good mines in Turkey. Media reports, however, show that the necessary inspections were not done properly.A prosecutor should have started investigating. Not surprisingly, the prosecutor appointed to the case has close ties with the AKP government. Before he became the prosecutor, he was a candidate for presidency of the AKP’s local office.When the prime minister is defending the mining company and his government, and when a prosecutor affiliated with the AKP government is appointed to investigate the accident, would any reasonable person expect a proper investigation into what went wrong and who is responsible?Third, people have lost their faith in the media. Unfortunately, the media is a total disaster in Turkey. The government’s heavy pressure on the media is well known.All in all, because people have lost their faith in the government, the justice system and the media and when all these three institutions are corrupt, no genuine truth will be revealed.Unfortunately, there is no hope at this time that light will be shed on the darkness of the mining disaster. I don’t know which darkness is worse: the darkness of the mine or the darkness of Turkey?

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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