Turkey has experienced another day of police violence east and west today. In the east people have been protesting the wall of shame, built as a separation against Rojava area of Syria as a way of preventing unauthorized border passing. Gas and water cannons were around the people protesting in the eastern cities. On the other hand, in Istanbul there has been held a protest rally, it has been announced for weeks with the title of “reclaim your city” –also permitted by governor of Istanbul. A completely legal protest rally was watered by cannons and gassed with police-tubes. Result is one person hospitalized with severe condition, barricades up again.
While in several cities people had been called to protest, after past few days’ clever protest methods (bringing shoe boxes to AKP local branches) police finally could not hold themselves any more and started firing gas canisters and shooting water cannons for no apparent reason. Some interpreted this attitude as the new Chief of Istanbul Police’s gateway to governorship, and some claimed this is his warm-up in his first week as chief of police.
Those who remember the new chief during OccupyGezi protests, would know that he does not use social media as active as other public officers, but he retweets the demands to tear down Gezi Park and build a mosque in the central Taksim Square, force Divan Hotel to host Quran-reading sessions, etc.
After an overnight statutory decree by the government, as police centers have become journalist-proof and the new chief of police is now investigating on how certain journalists managed to get a leak from the headquarters, now Mehmet Baransu –a whistleblower journalist who revealed a lot of details during the graft probe- stated “let them investigate me, but I shall remind you that I lived in the same city as the new chief of police in his younger years, I remember him… I am investigating him too, and how he got to be promoted.” There was a court case demand on corruption regarding the new chief of police, but the ministry of interior had then decided to protect public officers and not allow the case to be brought to court.
Over the course of last week, over a hundred policemen –majority of whom are chiefs of police- were fired including chiefs of police and riot police of Istanbul. The reason behind chopping of heads was the “graft operation” which was carried out by the controversial prosecutor of Ergenekon trials in Turkey, Zekeriya Öz. During these operations over 80 people were detained including ministers’ sons, wealthiest businesspeople of the country, bureaucrats, mayors, AKP officials and their relatives, etc. During the raid of the ministers’ sons were found millions of dollars/euros in shoe boxes and steel-safes in their bedrooms alongside money counting machines.
AKP officials including the Prime Minister Erdogan stay firm in their seats and defend themselves saying “this is a coup attempt, collaborated by foreign ambassadors to Turkey” upon which AKP branches and pro-government media started a hate campaign to expel US ambassador Ricciardone from Turkey. As none of the ministers whose sons are arrested have resigned, there is now a law change that prevents such probes to be started without the knowledge of the chiefs, managers and minister in charge. This new law change brings a complimentary piece after journalist-proof police buildings, to prevent any further investigations and leaks.
Prime Minister Erdogan started nationalist rallies across country, similar to his attitude after OccupyGezi protests. During his speeches he has raised his rhetoric to a level above stating “I am coming to get you, I will raid into your caves and turn everything inside out, reveal all the dirty plays you are preparing to end people’s government.” His followers greet him wearing shrouds and putting up posters that read “we believe and we trust… we are with you till death.”
Turkey’s one of the leading constitutional lawyers and constitutional commission president Burhan Kuzu from AKP tweeted against the timing of the graft probe asking why now. He said “it has been 11 years since we have been in power and corruption and bribery has not happened only in the last two weeks, why have you kept silent before?” he asked to the prosecutors, police and media. Prime Minister’s chief (telekinesis) advisor Bulut gave a TV interview where he said “but we are all human beings and corruption is a natural thing. We should not exaggerate it so much, it is part of being human. Just because there is corruption, it is wrong to ask a government to resign” (regarding the biggest corruption scandal probably in the history of modern statehood).
One other interesting commentary regarding corruption and bribes came from a pro-government TV commentator Nagehan Alci, who said “if it could be regulated, the amount of bribes public officials would be allowed to take, it would really be progressive.”
This kind of a government anywhere in the world would be unacceptable with all the corruption, surveillance, oppression of rights and freedoms. However, the police forces and judiciary that are carrying out the “operation” do not seem to be going forward with this for democratic purposes or transparency for that matter. As the confessional tweet of president of constitutional commission says, why now if not for winning the upper hand in an anti-democratic future of the country?
And final comment of the day should come from a fanatic AKP supporter, as she seems to verify what Erdogan probably already believes in by saying “Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the shadow of the God on the earth” and later on asked “is there anyone left who does not obey Tayyip Erdogan’s caliphate of all lands of Earth?”