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January 20, 2013, Sunday

Parties without politics

The head prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals has drafted a bold statement in which he expresses his view on the murder of Hrant Dink.

In the statement issued in respect to the judgment by the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court on the 19 suspects in the case, he referred to a deeply-rooted clandestine organization. He said: “It is obvious that the act cannot be considered simple murder and that the acts referred to in the file hold purposes to destroy the unity and integrity of the state, to undermine authority and public order in order to create chaos, turmoil and disorder, to lay the ground for unrest and to put the state into a delicate position in the international arena. As the content of the file suggests, the murder of Fırat [Hrant] Dink on Jan. 19, 2007, for no other reason than because he was of another religion and nationality should be considered a systematic act committed by an organized group to undermine the unity of the state.”

The expression of this view should be seen as a big step forward in addressing the propaganda suggesting that there was no organized group, but only some violent kids, who committed this crime. There is a certain attitude we have been observing in many issues in Turkey in recent times. First, a state of denial takes place to protect the suspected individuals, groups or organizations, suggesting that there was no such incident or crime at all. If this does not work, plan B is implemented; in this phase, it is suggested that there might be such an initiative or crime, but there is no evidence to substantiate it. In this way, the whole process is undermined. Recall the Balyoz and Ergenekon cases. The pro-guardianship circles, which have denied the existence memorandum allegedly drafted by Colonel Dursun Çiçek, have further argued that the original draft of the document was never identified and that the document’s signature was fabricated by a device. They were appalled when the original document was presented. Those who argued that the documents the prosecutor held in respect to the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plan were not authentic were still denying the facts when the original documents were seized in the secret sections of the Gölcük Naval Command’s intelligence unit. They attempted to mislead the people by arguing that the gangs planted these documents in these secret sections. They are still trying to rescue the junta figures by relying on the argument that there was a coup plan, but no evidence to prove it.

This style of discourse and action has been appreciated and promoted by some circles in the society and is also prevalent in politics. Not doing much but acting like you are doing much is politically less risky and viewed as a reasonable approach.

In reaction to the AK Party’s decision to hold negotiations with İmralı, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has paid a visit to former Chief of the General Staff İlker Başbuğ and general Engin Alan, who are being held in Silivri Prison as suspects in the Ergenekon case. The MHP chair is trying to take a political stance that does not fit into the history of such a deeply rooted party. What is this? Like it or not, the MHP is an action-based movement -- it cannot exist without action. Bahçeli’s stance is an indicator of the fact that the MHP has become extremely inactive and is being used by pro-junta figures to justify their own actions. The “rallies of justice” that Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu sponsored to prevent the conclusion of the Ergenekon and Balyoz processes are also the result of this inaction and lack of political stance. The AK Party is also tempted by the appeal of this discourse indicating a non-political stance, which is paralyzing its reformist mind and leading it to try and impose the presidential system on the country without any further discussion. Circles of guardianship do not disappear completely in a country that does not democratize. Unless we get rid of the vicious cycle of parties without politics, we will not be able to offer realistic solutions to the existing problems.

Previous articles of the columnist