How did a political crisis turn into disrespect for rule of law and beginning of the major collapse of AKP? The answer is simple; laws were used for individuals who should have just been part of the transformation. Over the last decade many bills have been passed or laws were decreed to protect or enable the Prime Minister of his relatives. His son Bilal’s wealth has always been a matter of criticism by opposition, especially how he became so rich over a decade becoming a major shipowner in Turkey was raising curiosity. The most recent graft probe started out with ministers’ sons, some claimed it is yet the beginning and a warning for Prime Minister Erdogan that his son and himself are on the target. Upon this, four ministers who were involved in corruption allegations were forced to resign by Prime Minister Erdogan, and when two of them played hard, they were expelled at the major cabinet reshuffle when ten ministers have been replaced.
The former cabinet consisted of a conservative-nationalist mentality of hardliners that have resulted in harsh suppression of any opposition since appointment, April 26th. The current cabinet now is called “war cabinet” as it consists mainly of loyalist hawks that seem to follow orders to the end without questioning. Among them is the most important one is new interior minister, who ordered the inhumane treatment of protesters and gave orders to raze Gezi Park to not let anyone come out of it (alive), upon which police shot thousands of gas canisters onto sleeping people and burnt down people’s tents at 5 am during a morning raid with excessive force against peaceful sit-in (sleep-in?).
Same minister, today had his first day in his office and the first deed was to remove the prosecutor who is in charge of corruption probe, making him unable to investigate any further. Moreover, newly appointed police chiefs and policemen refuse to carry out orders of investigation into corruption probe led by prosecutor Muammer Akkas. He distributed a press release himself in front of the justice hall, where he explained that the judiciary is under pressure through the hand of police by government. Corruption probe and prosecutors investigating into government ministers’ bribery are accused of “plotting a judiciary coup” by the governing AKP. The removed prosecutor invites all people of law to defend jurisprudence and rule of law.
The removed interior ministers handed over their chairs to their successors with similar speeches, which ended saying “wish you lots of luck and may God be on your side” which sounded as if they meant that the newly appointed ministers would need this sympathy a lot. Among the leaving ministers, Erdogan Bayraktar –former urbanization minister who called on the Prime Minister Erdogan to resign– read out his press statement from a document put in front of him, during which he read out his gratitude for Prime Minister Erdogan for all the support and all he has done for the leaving minister; the level of pressure he was talking about during his resignation was confirmed in this sheet of document in my opinion.
One other leaving minister is the father of Baris Güler –in whose bedroom was found six steel safes and millions of dollars and euros in shoe boxes- the former interior minister Muammer Güler. Leaving minister’s last deed was to reply a questionnaire about use of chemical weapons during OccupyGezi protests against unarmed civilians. His answer stated that when it was needed the police added chemicals to water cannons to be used against protestors. These chemicals included OC (Oleoresin of Capsicum) chemical gas solution, synthetic fire extinguishing chemicals, food coloring chemicals. However, the answer did not mention what the need was to spray chemicals on peaceful protestors or their effects when shot at humans combined with water, as many people were left with burn-marks in the aftermath.
As deputies continue to resign from AKP, internal opposition is becoming louder and louder against Erdogan. The most harshly criticizing AKP deputies Ertuğrul Günay (Izmir), Erdal Kalkan (Izmir) and Haluk Özdalga (Ankara) have been sent to disciplinary body to be expelled from the party, upon which Kalkan has already resigned saying “the people are not idiots, they see what’s going on”. With the latest expulsion and resignations, AKP currently has no representatives from Izmir, ending the rhetoric stating that it is the only party to have representatives from all 81 cities of Turkey.
Among the “to be expelled” deputies, Özdalga is the one who called onto the president Gül to intervene with the crisis and end it within his constitutional responsibilities. As the constitution states, president of the republic reserves the right to strip prime minister off his duties and responsibilities if the government is believed to have lost its legitimacy or support in the eyes of the people, or he can be the mediator for even a more peaceful solution to political crises.
The near future does not hold a bright end to this process. On the one hand there is a mobilized but disunited mass of people who have been disregarded by AKP for over a decade and had to unleash their cry for respect to human rights in Gezi Park six months ago; on the other hand AKP’s long term ally the religious group Gülen Movement supporters who are very well organized within the security forces (holding a big majority especially among police and riot police forces); and lastly there is the Erdogan supporters, AKP youth branches, public-supported police troops. While millions of people want to finally see a government free from corruption and respect to international law and human rights, there is still other millions who wish to see similar dictatorial attitudes targeting someone else than themselves within the country. Finally, there is the ones who would die to see continuation of current practices until all non-AKP supporters are eliminated from the country and their existence ended.
The last remarks carry a bit of concern. 27th of December is the anniversary of Roboski Massacre in Turkey, when air force jets air-raided a village and killed dozens of people and those who have given the orders were never found, no one got punished except for the ones whose relatives were bombarded. On the anniversary, it would be expectable to see a commemoration protest to take place in Taksim square and it would be expectable to see a big police presence (even in the form of undercover police agents). However, the Taksim Solidarity platform has called out a major protest against corruption, destruction and violence to be held in Taksim Square on the night of December 27th. As the new police chief is very eager to show his “skills” and how we might remember his practices throughout last week in Kadiköy after he was appointed, it is not illogical to expect police to unleash all terror and violence on peaceful protestors once again to turn Taksim into a battlefield. After all, those who have given orders to raze the area are now giving top commands to keep everyone’s mouth shut, all journalists turned to dark walls and everything under shadow. No vision, no sound, no reaction.