Red alert triggered

For the past eight months, after every National Security Council (MGK) meeting, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that quotthe Red Book now contains information on the parallel structure’.”

Allow me to make this statement less cryptic for those who don’t know, the “Red Book” is the Turkish state’s most fundamental security document. It’s put together by the government, but with guidance from the MGK. And the “parallel structure”? What’s this, you ask? Answering this is more difficult. It is more of a phantom used by the ruling party, it’s like a punching bag into which the ruling party can stick the opposition and do some boxing practice. The real goal herein is of course to show everyone — including the bureaucracy — that the ruling party is standing strong, unshaken by anything.

The rapid removal from the scene of the two judges who ordered the release of Hidayet Karaca and the imprisoned police officers from jail was no doubt done with the intention of showing the fearsome power of the ruling party. These arrests took place with absolutely no constitutional or legal basis clearly, the arrests were meant to intimidate all the judges in the system. Such clear and open illegality completely undermines any legitimacy this ruling party would otherwise have.

The continuing imprisonment of Karaca has become a symbol of the ruling party’s pressure on the media. As for the imprisoned police officers, they remain behind bars because of the attempt to prevent an investigation into government corruption. For them to be suddenly released would mean a breach in the strong wall of pressure set up by the ruling party. But at this juncture, I personally have another question. The general election is in one month and at this point, oppressive politics will start draining away Justice and Development Party (AKP) votes. The arrest of the judges who rendered decisions displeasing to the ruling party has proven that the personal rights of anyone who falls astray of the ruling party are at risk. It has reached the point where a regular citizen fighting with someone who has close ties to the ruling party over a parking space could find him or herself in prison. Teachers who openly support opposition parties find themselves assigned to remote schools. Businessmen with opposition ties find themselves teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, hit by extraordinary taxes and insurance inspections.

But what about when judges are arrested? What does this even mean? How does society respond to this? What we see now is that the ruling party’s legitimacy has been severely damaged on a widespread level the risk of vote loss is now high. We have reached the point of red alert. The government is actually favoring a loss of votes over a loss of power.

Last week, I appeared before a judge because of a column I had written. The plaintiff in this case is Erdogan himself, and the case is being heard in the special criminal courts set up with the specific intent of protecting the ruling party.

On Thursday, I headed to the main courthouse to show my support for journalist Sedef Kabai, who is also being tried for things she has written, though on Twitter. In this case, it was a tweet that criticized the head prosecutor in the corruption investigations of Dec. 17 and 25, 2013. If we translated the list of allegations against her and sent it to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the people there would tear out their hair. Because of their positions, public officials need to be open to criticism.

The cases and trials have begun multiplying rapidly in recent times. From an offhand comment “It looks like it’s going to rain,” people are deriving the meaning “You are calling me a duck, insulting me!” The manipulation of meanings from one simple sentence can be incredible the only important thing in the end is to be able to find the “crime” that has been committed.

The real goal at hand is to increase the atmosphere of pressure throughout Turkey. But this oppressive air is not going to help the ruling party now that it has begun destroying its own legitimacy with its own hand, it won’t last long. Apparently this red alert phase is one in which fear and panic are at a zenith.