ALI – Who calls the political shots?

Who calls the political shots?We are watching another episode in Turkey’s ongoing witch hunt. Senior police officers were arrested with much fanfare in a midnight operation which was leaked to certain pro-government outlets beforehand.

The director wants the incident to produce much noise and commotion. As the harsh and unethical rhetoric of labeling members of a certain social group “hashashins” and “leeches” and hurling other insults at them for several months failed to bear fruit and became less and less convincing, the proponents of this rhetoric found it necessary to take action.

Most importantly, there was always the possibility that graft files, summary proceedings, our degraded international prestige, our diplomats and their families who were kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the efforts to undermine the rule of law would dominate the country’s agenda and that the government’s program to manipulate popular perceptions would go out of control and overshadow the election campaign. The government, therefore, felt the need for action at all costs, to devise incidents that would distract the public attention.

Apparently, this need was so pressing that the operations have not been postponed until after the end of Ramadan, the holy month of Muslims. The director wants to be able to say “We entered their dens” before he became president.

In other words, these operations weren’t geared only toward engineering public perceptions. They also sought to take revenge.

Anyway, I believe these arrests won’t produce any remarkable outcomes and the arrested people will eventually be released. Indeed, certain state organs and the judiciary are still standing despite all the attacks from the government.

The government has worked hard to completely undermine rule of law, but has failed to do so. The graft and bribery accusations are so serious that it is impossible to impose the “there-is-no-graft-but-coup” perception without turning the country into a banana republic.

Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Washington and other capitals are watching Turkey not only in connection with the election process but also with respect to the corrupt practices that involved four ministers. I believe justice will be done sooner or later and that Turkey will eventually restore its prestige.

Unfortunately, the problem is not only about justice the problem is also about how to identify political responsibility for the prosperity of the country. The recent operations have further complicated the matter of political responsibility.

The climate is foggy and it is impossible to see who is linked to whom Those who were arrested five years ago on charges of attempting to overthrow the government from within the state apparatus are now free. Even if courts have not yet confirmed their innocence, the perception is that they are innocent.

If this perception is true, who is politically responsible for the court cases concerning Ergenekon, Balyoz (Sledgehammer) and Oda TV — these 114 police officers? Did these police officers work on their own as a “parallel network” without any political will behind them? If they did so, why did the government connive with them for years? Who is politically responsible for this?I know these are rhetorical questions. Both the director and the audience know that the arrests are devised to manipulate public perceptions.

In an email to Sunday’s Zaman, an EU Commission spokesperson made an interesting remark regarding the arrests and it seems to question what is going on behind the scenes of the game being staged. The spokesperson stressed that the rule of law must be respected in connection with the arrests, while dedicating most of the statement to corruption: “We recall that [the] corruption allegations that became public after [the] December 2013 events should be properly investigated, in a transparent, impartial and efficient manner”This message is indicative not only of Brussels’ but also other capitals’ perspective on the matter In other words, the Commission is warning the government over blocking the graft investigations and notes that it is aware of the connection between the arrests and the graft investigations.

I don’t know how long Turkey will wrestle with corruption and prestige erosion. The director of the witch hunt and the “there-is-no-graft-but-coup” perception will probably become president.

I don’t know if the new prime minister will undertake the burden of stopping corruption. If he does, he will not be able to stand tall because of complicity in corruption, as well as prestige erosion.

This is a life-or-death matter not only for the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which drove the country’s economic and political progress for 10 years, but also for Turkey. Indeed, not everyone is corrupt in the AKP, in Turkey and in Europe.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman