I believe it was around a month after the December 14th raid. I was at a funeral ceremony. I heard a top level official from the security bureaucracy say this: andquotIand’m going to see that man in handcuffs!andquot The edict had clearly come down from somewhere on high but with the conditions not quite ripe, they hadnand’t had the chance to put on that particular show yet. Naturally, I asked andquotWho gave those orders?andquot The official gave a strange stare his eyes said clearly andquotWho do you suppose?andquot Since that day, Iand’ve been pondering the mental state of people who hand down orders like andquothandcuff that guy!andquot
Another time, I heard from a different bureaucrat about a state official incensed upon seeing the wife of an arrested policeman cry on a live TV broadcast andquotMake that woman cry!andquot yelled the state official. Now, while I get the mental state of victims in these sorts of situations, what I donand’t get is the state of mind of people who think that the power of the state is somehow head to the grave and beyond with them.
Handcuffs are a symbol a symbol of oppressoin, tyranny, and cruelty.
Turkish law details when handcuffs should be used. Broadly speaking: andquotWhen the suspect tries to escape, or tries to harm himself or others.andquot These days in Turkey, the use of handcuffs has far surpassed this framework though.
Police chief Yurt Atayuin had his hands cuffed behind his back by his own colleagues. Of course, they were given orders to do so and the person who gave the orders can be expected to give more of the same in the future. Those who were quite aware that the treatment of Atayun was illegal defended themselves, saying andquotBut Chief Yurt himself told us to do that.andquot Some even wrote columns to this tune. Seriously, donand’t the people who wrote those ridiculous things up now owe the public an apology?!
In any case, the whole handcuff show continued with journalist Mehmet Baransu, who was cuffed while at the courthouse. There was no need. The whole thing was a charade, meant to scare and intimidate. And so we watched, as those giving orders–driven by feelings of revenge and hatred–arranged for Turkeyand’s journalists to be treated in ways that not even thieves, bribers, or coup plotters get treated.
Some chose to remain silent in the face of this hideous misuse of the justice system as a way to get even and get revenge. This silence meant that the tyranny spread ever faster. Knocks came at the doors of small merchants and altruistic teachers alike. Tax officials, exhorted to find targets, swarmed into workplaces. State trustees were appointed to take over businesses that had been in families for generations. Preschools were even raided, treated as though they were somehow sheltering terrorists. Newspapers that have been working for decades to get out the truth were raided. Freedom of thought was taken hostage.
And in the midst of this all, many stayed silent. Some pointed to events from the past to justify their silence others applauded outright at the atrocities, hoping to suppress their own inner fears in doing so. But the victims were at the same time of course the neighbors, the friends, the colleagues, even the relatives of those who remained steadfastly silent. And the handcuffs were not just on peopleand’s wrists, but around their hearts. And suddenly, confidence in justice was pierced through and through. Everyone was fearful, everyone was worried.
Things finally arrived at the point where women were being handcuffed too. The other day, Turkey was treated to the sight of some headscarved women in handcufs of course, the fact of their heads being scarved or not is not important here. But at the same time, itand’s significant in that this is an administration that grabs every chance it can to talk about the treatment that our andquotheadscarved sistersandquot deserve. And so from that angle, this event was meaningful. And now everyone sees, the final nails have been placed in the coffin of our justice system. Yes, the system is now simply a tool for revenge!
Just as it was yesterday, today too handcuffs are a tool for intimidation. When people reacted angrily to the orders to slap plastic handcuffs on some Kurdish politicians in the Southeast, the blame was placed elsewhere. And now theyand’re engaged in similar maneuvers to avoid the outrage over the handcuffs placed on the headscarved women. But it doesnand’t matter anymore what they do! Itand’s all for naught, as tyranny has been caught once again red-handed, and itand’s been proven that our courts no longer hand down fair sentences.


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