ORHAN – Paying a price and normalization

Paying a price and normalizationWith debates over court cases like Ergenekon, Balyoz (Sledgehammer), and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) still going on, now a whole different case — the TahIiyeciler (Annotators)ase — is shaking Turkey.New allegations and new documents get thrown into the ring every day now regarding these cases.

Serious witness reports and allegations — each one creating countless immediate victims — fill our media daily. These are all cases that are vital in terms of facing up to and reckoning with the past.

It is helpful to take a brief glance at them to see how they are doing.I myself believed that both the Ergenekon and Balyoz cases were real coup attempts.

I wrote columns in the Taraf newspaper when these cases began, asserting that they were necessary to face up to our past as a country. I supported the cases.

And I still maintain my stance on this point.But today, I do believe that there were some serious mistakes made during the trial periods, and that during these cases, one certain group turned these cases into tools for their own purposes.

I think that we cannot overlook this fact.The same thing goes for the KCK case.

I am someone who does not believe that there is any democratic or political legitimacy to the whole KCK structure. But when I view the KCK operations today, my belief that they were actually carried out — as we were told — to protect Turkey from possible national clashes, is seriously shaken.

There was only one goal in the handcuffing and five-year prison sentences given to the mayors of some Turkish towns in these operations: to plant mines on the road leading to a possible solution to the Kurdish problems in this country.This past week, I met up with attorney Muharrem Erbey — who went to prison for five years after a KCK court trial, and who now has received all sorts of freedom of thought awards in Europe and in Turkey — in a booksellerand#39s shop.

He was a defender of human rights who spent five years in prison unjustly. This is a prison term four times that of those who were found guilty in the TahIiyeciler case.

While all of this was unfolding, there were no real clashes or events that might disturb the path of the dissent between the government and the Gulen movement. But that is no longer the case we see that any calculations made by the Gulen movement regarding withdrawing from a turbulent atmosphere were for naught in the end.

Operations that have targeted largely the justice system and the police in Turkey have swiveled now to focus — at least partially — on the leaders of the media that are either close to or which defend the Gulen movement.And so it is that, not only have the editor-in-chief of the Zaman newspaper, Ekrem DumanlI, and the head of Samanyolu TV, Hidayet Karaca, been arrested, but so have various other scriptwriters and journalists.

Of course, it is quite normal that during the course of an investigation, people might be arrested no one is protected from such an act simply because of their position. No one possesses extra privileges in the face of the law.

But one certainly wishes that DumanlI and the others had not been actually arrested on site at the newspaper and surrounded by such a media fury. These were not scenes that were befitting of a modern Turkey, but rather, more reminiscent of a Turkey from the past.

At the same time, assertions that media freedom has been violated, or that journalists are not able to carry out their duties, are not convincing.When all is said and done, what we see now is a burgeoning and purposeful media, one which knows precisely what it is doing.

Letand#39s set aside for a moment the role the media played in the Kurdish case it is also impossible to deny the mission shouldered by the Turkish media in the sinister workings of the Hrant Dink case and others like it. I have never had any doubt that Dink was in fact murdered by Ergenekon, or rather, the Ergenekon structure.

But today, we face such developments in Turkey that I suppose no one would find any problem with saying, andldquoHrant was murdered via a national consensus.andrdquo Alright, but if — while researching the role of the Turkish media in such a national consensus — figures like journalist ErtuIrul zkk and media mogul AydIn DoIan are called to give court testimony regarding the headlines that were printed in the Hurriyet newspaper during those times, would this, too, be seen as a strike against media freedom in Turkey? Turkey appears to have entered into a period during which everyone is going to have to pay a price for a state that can be questioned in every area in order to possess a normal democracy.

Without paying this price, normalization will not be possible. What we need to make sure of is that, as this mechanism functions, there are no new victimizations, that justice is not used as a tool, and that revenge-based emotions do not guide us.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman