The stance adopted by the İstanbul Bar Association, which has a record of many past “evil” deeds, is perhaps the epitome of this attitude.
We are talking about a “legal” institution that has denied Sacit Kayasu the right to exercise his profession as a lawyer, despite the decision by the European Court of Human Rights. In an effort to defend the right to treatment, this bar association had even tried to decide which patients should be treated at which hospitals. Many still remember how insistently it had argued that certain defendants in the trial of Ergenekon, a clandestine network aiming to pave the way for an eventual military takeover, should be treated at the Gülhane Military Academy of Medicine (GATA), although it was not part of the chain of referrals for treatment. This bar association further demanded the annulment of a decision by the Higher Education Board (YÖK), eliminating an unfair practice with respect to coefficients in the scoring of entrance university exams and making vocational high schools equal to other high schools in this respect. They used wording in both their petition for the annulment and in their press release that can only be properly depicted as shameful in the eyes of the law.
The bar association says it does not believe that the decision aims to eliminate an unfair practice against vocational high schools. It adds: "If we had believed or observed that this was the case, we would have been supporting this decision. With this decision, YÖK gives the impression that it is protecting the rights of the graduates of vocational high schools, but in reality, it paves the way for the graduates of imam-hatip high schools to enter universities without any coefficient, just like ordinary high school graduates." Some of his colleagues are certainly justified in referring to "Hukuka Giriş" (Introduction to Law), a book by the bar association's chairman, Muammer Aydın. Indeed, the first principle of law is to "consider the facts at hand, not the impressions in one's heart." In other words, subjective and qualitative intentions do not concern law in the least. Law may only make judgments about actions. But, the all-knowing executives of the İstanbul Bar Association claim that they know that the intentions of YÖK members are evil. Moreover, they have made calculations about the country's need for clerics and decided that the country does not need extra clerics, so they filed a petition requesting the cancellation of the decision. Yes, but why aren't they equally sensitive to the faculties that have produced excess engineers, communications experts or other professions? The state can give everyone the sort of education they want, but cannot guarantee their employment. For instance, I may decide to learn how to operate a lathe, but I won't work as a lathe operator. Who should care about my decision?
The views of the Council of State, which will have the final say about this issue, are being anxiously awaited. The administrative judiciary is not authorized to review the appropriateness of an administrative action but may check whether it is in compliance with existing procedures. In recent years, the decisions issued by the Council of State in this connection have all advertised YÖK as the sole authority. The requests made to the Council of State requesting the cancellation of the previous YÖK decision introducing inequality between graduates of ordinary and vocational high schools were all dismissed in the past with this justification. A supreme court is not supposed to give different answers to the same question depending on the identity of who asks the question. Otherwise, it will be like the shrew who was asked, "Two and two is equal to what?" and who retorted: "When? While buying or selling?" Even if they risk a contradiction with clearly worded laws and regulations, they will have a hard time explaining any contradiction in their own decisions. "We have construed the law in this way," they may say, but they cannot say they have interpreted it depending on the identity of the applicants. I don't agree with those who say, "Anything may happen in Turkey." First, this is no longer the old Turkey. Everyone must accept that many things have changed. Otherwise, we will have to discard all these laws and return to the verbal mode of legal functioning as was the case several hundreds years ago. Then, everyone may advocate a unique strand of legal rules. Contradictory decisions undermine faith in law and judicial organizations.