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June 08, 2008, Sunday

McCarthyist oligarchy

Even though no one has been left puzzled by the unconstitutional decision of the Constitutional Court on freedom of dress at universities on secularist grounds, it is still very disturbing, as respect for the law in the country is fast diminishing thanks to partisan and political verdicts of the upper courts.As is very apparent to everyone now, Turkey's oligarchy has been using the pretext of a Shariah regime threat and accuses every dissident to their regime of being either members of secret Shariah gangs or their supporters. They resist every positive change and even fundamental freedoms by claiming that these changes will pave the way for a Shariah regime. Even the EU accession process is a clear and present danger for the oligarchy. They easily blacken and character-assassinate many successful people without having to prove their accusations. It appears that they have a very strong hold on the judiciary, in addition to military and business circles, for their crimes of libel go unpunished in almost all cases. What is more, some members of the judiciary even constantly make use of this McCarthyism, a term used more generally to describe demagogic, reckless and unsubstantiated accusations as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of perceived opponents. The word is a synonym for demagoguery, baseless defamation and mudslinging.

The courts in Turkey have argued that headscarved university students are not sincere and wear the headscarf not for religious but for political purposes; their aim being sinisterly disestablishing the republic and founding a totalitarian Shariah regime. So far, not even one person could be brought before a court on these grounds, let alone be convicted. But we read false stories and news about this imaginary regime threat every day in the oligarchy's media. It is because of this imaginary regime threat that the Constitutional Court annulled the constitutional change that would allow everyone to enter universities regardless of their dress. The ban, opposed by 80 percent of the population, does not exist anywhere else in the world. But still many in the media, army and business elite aired their views of the ban. They are not even afraid of breaking the law.

Courts in Turkey exist to mete out "justice" to ordinary citizens but not to the members of the oligarchy. If these grass roots become organized and establish civil society organizations, the oligarchy is quick to "McCarthy-ize" these otherwise innocent people and constantly claim that these people are dangerous and even a threat to national security. They have evicted many military officers on suspicion of being Islamist gang members but have never allowed these people to challenge these decisions in court.

Nowadays, our McCarthyist oligarchy has turned its wrath to police officers, who have been nothing but very successful. Even fake lists of these so-called "enemy" police officers have been prepared and printed in the media. The oligarchy never bothers to substantiate its claims and in many cases, it turns out that rank rivalry or personal hostility play a part in an officer accusing another. A common label to accuse someone is to call him a follower of Fethullah Gülen, a prominent Islamic scholar, even though neither the man nor any of his so-called followers have been convicted by any court.

The late US Senator Joseph R. McCarthy had simply abused a growing concern and fear of communism among his fellow countrymen. A Senate report labeled McCarthy's charges a "fraud and a hoax" and said that the result of McCarthy's actions was to "confuse and divide the American people [...] to a degree far beyond the hopes of the communists themselves." Thousands of powerful McCarthies in Turkey are now harming the country in a similar fashion, wasting our internal energy and weakening the country.

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