The cost of not being able to describe what is wrong as wrong

Describing what is wrong as wrong has a different meaning in Ankara, where the heart of Turkish politics beats. If you want to survive in Turkish politics, you are forced to ignore wrongdoing.

The cost of not being able to describe what is wrong as wrong is very heavy, but for politicians who have made the mistake of telling the truth, it can take a little bit more time to feel and understand the price.

Anti-democratic systems allow the executive branch to pressure deputies.

On May 5 Parliament will convene to discuss the Justice and Development Party (AK Party)’s new revised resolution for the establishment of a commission to examine allegations of misconduct and graft leveled against four former Cabinet ministers and four other separate resolutions that were submitted earlier by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) regarding the charges against the four ministers. Parliament was expected discuss this on April 24, however the AK Party withdrew its first resolution and prepared a new one.

The CHP wants Parliament to establish a parliamentary commission to thoroughly investigate the accusations made against the four former ministers. The AK Party’s previous resolution only mentioned misconduct by the ministers while in office and ignored the bribery and corruption accusations. That is why it was criticized as an attempt to acquit the ministers from the corruption claims.

The AK Party has submitted a new resolution that is similar to the CHP’s resolutions and asked Parliament to discuss it on May 5.

The reason they selected this date to discuss the resolution is that Meclis TV, which broadcasts from Parliament and is technically independent, will not do live broadcasts on that day. Will the AK Party –which wants to conceal the debate on the establishment of a parliamentary commission to investigate the corruption allegations from the general public — vote for the establishment of the commission?

For the last few months, the AK Party administration has debated the question, “should we insist on our previous resolution which ignores the bribery and corruption accusations, or submit a new one that is similar to the CHP’s resolutions in order to minimize the damage from public criticism?”

Their first decision was to turn down the CHP resolutions and establish a parliamentary commission that would investigate only the misconduct that occurred while the ministers were in office.

Then they decided that this would not provide a long-term solution. The AK Party deputies who are also law experts, the Office of the speaker of Parliament and Parliament bureaucracy made the AK Party executives change their decision. According the AK Party’s new strategy, they will not exert pressure on party members during the secret ballot session. That way, the AK Party deputies who are tired of all these corruption and bribery claims will be allowed to relieve their consciences by voting for establishment of the commission.

In addition, the AK Party will send the message that they are not concerned about an investigation of the corruption claims.

If the commission is established, nine of the 15 members on the commission will be appointed by the AK Party. By the time the commission completes its two-month project, Parliament’s summer recess will begin. The commission will reconvene on Oct. 1 and likely will not be able to finalize its report before the beginning of the next near.

The AK Party’s new strategy allows them to give the impression, “We continue to describe what is wrong as wrong,” and if the commission is not established, they will simply ask us to respect to the deputies’ will.