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Decade of Descent: The Unraveling of Rule of Law in Turkey

The collapse of the state architecture in Turkey began on December 17, 2013. We are talking about a process of 10 years.

The principle of the separation of powers, which is guaranteed by the constitution, was thwarted by government intervention to stop the December 17 investigations. The government (executive branch) intervened in the legal process (judiciary branch), committing an abuse of power.

I have brought up this issue countless times over the past decade.

Now, the point this process has brought the country to is the High Court of Appeal’s refusal to recognize the Supreme Court’s decision and filing complaints against the high judges who issued the SC’s (violation) decision. Look, this is Turkey blatantly screaming, “I am not a state!” Turkey is being governed without a constitution. A civil coup took place on December 17, 2013. This coup, like a cancer cell, proliferated and spread to other areas of the body with metastases. The gang that has seized the state no longer feels the need to hide what they are doing. The ship has taken water, and they are galloping at full speed towards a complete authoritarian regime.

Here, I will not talk about the Supreme Court being the highest judicial authority, the Constitution, or the distinction between lower and higher courts. Because explaining these is meaningless. The problem in Turkey is not that people do not know these things. It is that the principles on which these rules are based are not internalized in their political culture. Culturally, they are uncomfortable with the existence of the principle of separation of powers. Because the essence of this principle is the limitation of powers and constitutional control of power.

Unlimited power brings lawlessness. It rots and destroys both society and the state, the most comprehensive and vital organization of society. Today, the power alliance that has usurped the government in Turkey with a civil coup has, quite strategically and logically for themselves, first seized the judiciary. This will be characterized as the “most sophisticated coup” in future coup history, a refined operation.

Islamist thieves and Eurasian fascists, within an alliance, finished the Republic of Turkey before its centenary. However, the Turkish intelligentsia witnessing this situation could not diagnose it or did not want to. It’s as if they had not witnessed the removal of high judges from the judiciary, their trials, and their unjust imprisonment. Today, the Turkish intelligentsia seems to have realized that the judiciary has disappeared, starting to bring up the issue. “How can complaints be filed against Supreme Court’s judges!” and so on and so forth!

Whether or not this crowd is an intelligentsia is a matter of debate, yes. But that this group is divided into camps within itself is not debatable. This polarization means looking at events from their own interest perspective and bending principles. It is a serious weakness. It is virtually collective suicide. The observed process is essentially this.

In this process, everyone focuses on the eradication of their own other. They want constitutional rights, fundamental freedoms, and human rights only for their own group (clan or neighborhood). The groups they label as others do not even concern them. The principles are disappearing in the erosion caused by this environment. It is not possible to have a state order in this chaos and confusion. Look, I write again and more clearly, please understand now: Turkey no longer even meets the minimum conditions of being a state governed by law, let alone a constitutional state.

Even in the political climates of the 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s, Turkey was not a state of law but at least a state of laws. Injustices in those times could not be legally justified. Only during military coups did power concentrations occur that could step entirely outside the state architecture. We call them open interim regimes anyway.

Today we are in an interim regime period.

For the first time, Turkey is in a civilian interim regime period. But this is not the most dangerous situation.

Today, the person and power stakeholders (read this as accomplices) ruling Turkey are no longer subject to the law. They have created a domain of power outside the law, where they are the law themselves. Please think a little about what this means. People getting used to this absurdity or finding meaningless excuses not to see the reality, starting to see this situation as “normal” is not only political but also a societal (sociological) cancer. This is the most dangerous.

There is a president who dominates outside the law, the “law” of the regime. No legal power can subject Erdoğan to the law. Alongside Erdoğan, there is a cadre of administrators outside the scope of the law. In other words, the principle that everyone is equal before the law and that the law, including those who make it, is binding for everyone is not applied today. A power that controls and manipulates the law, uses the law as a weapon and tool for political purposes and personal financial interests, has completely bound the law to itself like a gang, an organized crime syndicate, and has been tearing the country apart for 10 years.

I am frankly surprised at those who are shocked by what is happening today to the Supreme Court and the high judges!

Hasn’t the time come to wake up and see the truths?”

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Dr. Mehmet Efe Caman is a Scholar of Politics at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). Dr. Caman’s main research focuses on Democracy, democratization and human rights, Turkish politics, the Middle East, Eurasian politics and post-Soviet regions, the European Union. He has published a monograph on Turkish foreign policy, numerous book chapters and scholarly articles in English, German and Turkish about topics related to his research areas.

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