Justice apparently is not such a strange notion to Turkish protesters as one would expect. Courts seldom give decisions that respect international law and basic human rights. Most recently the Istanbul court has ruled that the objection to stopping of court ruling to cancel demolishing of the Gezi Park is unlawful and the park should be preserved as green space; and this decision would set an example to all green spaces that are currently under occupation of construction companies and security forces which try to keep civilian protesters away from green spaces. Although this declaration might seem hopeful, and appear to be a final decision on all of Gezi events, it actually is a ruling still with an open ending. There might yet be a final opposition to court ruling and even a change of law to invalidate the court decision.
In fact it is a general problem that laws are interpreted in a very liberal manner, usually in favour of the government. While it is a very common phrase to hear from the prime minister or members of the cabinet “I have given orders to my judges, they will handle this issues delicately,” for the remainders of the society justice remains to be a dream far away in the horizon. Not only can one not actually observe constitutional rights and liberties be respected, no one can actually see any kind of protection of civil rights unless it is in strong alliance to or an integral part of the governing AKP.
Most recently, concerning civil liberties and constitutional rights, the Istanbul Chief of Police Huseyin Capkin declared that whoever goes against the law, will face tough consequences. While this statement might sound promising to many, it has a follow up. “Those who aim to turn any event into a protest, or organize a rally will of course face intervention. The Gezi Park is open to public visit as long as there is no political agenda. We will allow return to normality once people stop turning the park into a political atmosphere. Otherwise of course we will intervene.”
The police forces in general misinterpret any law they read. For once, they conclude that any kind of protest is against the law, as they have been ordered to stop any anti-government protest. Moreover, they take the liberty to interpret the Turkish Language Association’s description of a coup, which concludes “any attempt to force a government out of office through democratic means or by force is a coup.”
The injustices caused by police forces do not end there; as one looks at the arrest notices in Izmir concerning the twitter users, it is possible to see that they were arrested without any court approval to start any kind of surveillance or control of their online written material. Obviously what happened was, the police forces taking liberty to control people’s written online material and arrest them under the suspicion that they might be “insulting to state.”
Majority of the people who were arrested in Izmir were accused of being a member of the main opposition party CHP (Republican People’s Party), IP (Labor Party), TKP (Turkish Communist Party), ÖDP (Freedom and Democracy Party) and other NGOs varying from Kemalist groups to socialist groups, as well as workers’ unions.
The police reports concerning Gezi, conclude that the media is partially responsible for everything, through not reporting and causing the social media to replace regular media, which is much more controllable through governmental forces. Moreover, the university senates were accused of participating in a coup attempt against the government, by allowing opposition voices in the forefronts of the representation of the educational facilities.
While all protesters have been declared as terrorists by the government and accepted to be so by police forces, the riot police who participated in the “quest” to end civilian protests were given 24 wages bonus payment for their positive contributions to the “suppression of revolts.” The biggest bonus payment has been given to the chief of Istanbul riot police, the amount of over 3.000€ for sending out a text message that glorifies all the violence carried out by police forces against civilians, and calling it a legend in the history of Turkey.
While it is basically an authoritarian or even sub-military rule of law without complete participation of military that prevails in Turkey at the moment, it can not be declared as such and continues to be called democratic under heavy police state guarantees. As majority of the people in government continue to defy the military intervention in Egypt, they do no shy away from calling the military into action against peaceful protesters that demand recognition of their democratic rights and guarantees of internationally recognized freedoms.
Lastly, concerning Egypt and hearing the worries of Turkish authorities, it is important to cite the Turkish Language Association, for definition of the word “coup”, of historical importance to the situation:
Coup: “Ousting a government through use of force or democratic means, change of political system”
And as we are already there, another check on the word “terrorist”:
Someone who aims to force one to adopt a political cause through spread of fear.