ALI – Qualitative thievery

Qualitative thieveryPerhaps writing a column on andldquoqualitative thieveryandrdquo is not the most auspicious way to enter the new year, but two important things push us to do so. The first is Yeni Safak newspaper writer Hayrettin Karamanand#39s tendency to insist in his columns that andldquocorruption is not thievery.

andrdquo The second — and more important — topic is that Parliamentand#39s research commission has arrived at the point where they must render a decision with regards to the Dec. 17 corruption investigations.

We still do not understand why exactly it is that Hayrettin andldquoHojaandrdquo has opened up the andldquocorruption is not thieveryandrdquo debate. His second column on this topic was certainly not enlightening.

One would have wanted to see Hayrettin Hoja examine — not to mention, opine and offer tips on — the moral, social, and legal aspects of the phenomena of andldquocorruptionandrdquo and andldquothievery.andrdquo Yes, it is true that, technically speaking, corruption and thievery are different things.

But the fact that Hayrettin Hoja has difficulty picking out the real differences between these two terms shows us that they are certainly closely linked. Which is why we agree with the findings and the interpretation of writer Ali Bula, who noted recently in his own column that andldquocorruption which involves taking things which belong to others, and having thus an illegal relationship with morality, is nothing other than andlsquoqualitative thievery,and#39 and is much more dangerous and damaging than basic thievery.

andrdquo We are not sure whether we quite understand what Hayrettin Hojaand#39s message is, but it seems as though he is saying to the government, andldquoHey guys, what you did is not right, but itand#39s not exactly stealing, eitherandrdquo In this vein then, the difference between a common bank robber and someone who empties out bank coffers via corruption is the andldquoqualitative natureandrdquo of what they have done. Is that what you are saying, Hoja?In any case, let us return to our own waters for a moment.

As you may know, despite the Dec. 17 investigations and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) governmentand#39s many efforts to establish that andldquowhat you saw was not corruption, but the result of a coup attempt,andrdquo there have been two recent positive developments.

Four government ministers who were alleged to have been involved in corruption were forced to resign. And also, as one should see in a normal state of law, Parliament brought this topic to its agenda by way of a corruption investigation commission.

And while the AKP for months tried to block the proper functioning of this commission, the parliamentary process moved forward. And through this all, institutions such as the Constitutional Court and Parliament showed that they were resisting all the pressure being put on them and were standing strong and functioning as they should be.

Also hopeful is that Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu, who is also the AKP leader and parliamentary group AKP head, has recently said: andldquoIf I see before me a documented case of corruption, I wouldnand#39t pay attention to any tears being shed, not even if it were my own brother being accused. I have never intervened in the workings of the commission, and I never will.

No matter who it is being accused, that person will account for his actions.andrdquo It is vital that the highest court in the land start a legal process to question the corrupt activities of politicians, even if it is only four politicians under the spotlight.

When it comes to the topic of corruption, the AKP is ultimately making a decision about its own future. It is a choice between displaying the characteristics of a modern conservative party that is interested in renewing Turkey — as it did in its initial years — and the party that was squeezed into a narrow identity, accused of corruption and reduced to being interested only in elections.

Claiming that there is andldquono corruptionandrdquo is about as convincing as claiming that andldquothere are no traffic accidents or thievery at all in Turkey.andrdquo Take a quick look at how Europe views this all:andldquoThe Council regrets that the response by the government to the alleged cases of corruption in December 2013 cast serious doubts over the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, and demonstrated an increasing intolerance of political opposition, public protest and critical media,andrdquo read the EU Council conclusions on Enlargement and Stabilisation and Association Process dated Dec.

16. The assertion that andldquono matter who it is, people will be held responsibleandrdquo is a key phrase, and one which sounds good.

We would like to believe that it could change everything..

.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman