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HomeHeadlineDeep Anger and Sociological Cancer: Challenges to Justice in Turkey

Deep Anger and Sociological Cancer: Challenges to Justice in Turkey

I have written this many times before: When a state abandons the principle of individual guilt and resorts to “collective punishment,” it triggers a process that can lead to genocide. Following the declaration of the civil society movement known by names like the Gülen Movement, Hizmet Movement, or Gülenist Movement (let’s abbreviate it as HH) as the “Parallel State Structure – PYD” and “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization – FETÖ” in Turkey, a massive policy of surveillance and oppression began. Several million people were criminalized based on fabricated so-called evidence. These people and their family members were subjected to a Nazi-style practice known as “Sippenhaft,” meaning “family-wide criminalization” and “collective punishment.” These practices are contrary to the 1982 Constitution and legislation. It is a system that generalizes, groups, criminalizes, and punishes collectively.

As anyone with some knowledge of the law and basic logical reasoning can see, what I have described above should be independent of whether someone from within HH was involved in the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, or whether there are allegations of “infiltration into the state,” or claims of “stealing questions” or any unsupported accusations. Group affiliations cannot be criminalized by generalization, and the principle of individual guilt in law must not be violated. Period!

The goals of HH, its political preferences, worldview, the directions it follows, and the choices it makes, as well as issues such as what those associated with this group have or have not done to members of other groups, should all be considered independently of the legal principle discussed above. In other words, what is happening to individuals today, who are suffering due to their association with HH, with their constitutional rights violated, and their lives turned upside down (perhaps even lost!), cannot be justified under any reasonable, legitimate, necessary, or beneficial circumstances. What is being done cannot be tolerated under any circumstances because the state cannot engage in exceptional practices that violate its own constitution and laws. Furthermore, it cannot engage in collective punishment. Moreover, associative relationships cannot constitute evidence for any crime, and no arbitrary (not based on laws and not corresponding to universal legal principles) punitive measures can be justified.

The issue is this simple.

Legal rules, laws, universal legal principles, positive law, international human rights legislation, the constitution, the precedents of the Constitutional Court, past court decisions, and the interpretations of legal experts recognized at both the international and national levels all render the lawsuits filed against HH members due to their affiliation legally void.

An injustice is occurring because an injustice is being committed. Those committing the injustice may try to cloak their actions in a legal guise, but they are only tarnishing their own hands and faces. In the end, they confess, as the prosecutor at the Yassı Ada Court did, “the power that brought you here wants it that way!” They do not even abide by their own constitution and legal framework. They have severed their ties with the law, instrumentalized the judiciary, and, in the eyes of rogue elements within the deep state, “law is the servant of politics.” There is a gang that acts as their “enforcers,” and everyone thinks this gang is the state. Believing that every headhunter is the state is a reaction characteristic of primitive societies. Deep-seated emotions such as fear and revenge are at the roots of this reaction.

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Today, the architects, perpetrators, instruments, volunteers, applauders, lawyers, and prosecutors of these injustices, who have photographs alongside HH, laudatory speeches they made in favor of HH, videos documenting their participation in HH events, appointments they made, special day allowances they endorsed, speeches in the parliament, payroll records of their salaries, credit records they obtained, payment receipts for the schools and preparatory courses where they sent their children – there is ample material evidence. However, they are acting as if they are choosing sacrificial lambs. In today’s regime, there is almost no politician, bureaucrat, judiciary member, athlete, journalist, artist, etc., who has not crossed paths with HH, but today, they support some and persecute others, and those left wanting cry, “what about me, what about me!” It is a complete chorus of characterlessness, a complete circus, a complete horde of inferiority, completely ignoring the voices of elderly people in prison, children and babies under seven, pregnant women, cancer patients, and heart patients, not to mention the unfortunate souls trying to cross the Meriç River.

Of course, if the evidence is genuine, present it, and hold those who attempted the coup accountable. But do not attempt to include the sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, siblings, nieces, and nephews of those you have targeted with fake evidence, in fabricated and contrived crimes through entrapment-like methods, with homemade evidence! Enough is enough!

And can’t at least a few brave, honorable, dignified individuals emerge from the vast Turkish society to object to this charade, this farce, this vaudeville, this circus? Am I asking for too much? Aren’t there a few decent people who can speak up about what they see? Look, people are falling ill and dying at a young age! Young people are committing suicide! People are being condemned to hunger! The state, the vile organization you think it is, is perpetrating oppression on a family-wide scale with fabricated so-called evidence. You see these things, you know them! Your hatred for HH may be great! Your worldview may be 180 degrees different from the ideals of this movement! Criticize, oppose it! But object to the mass oppression taking place! Show some courage! Look, the author of these lines has no connection whatsoever to HH, has not participated in any of their activities, has not attended any of their meetings, has not had any organic, formal, or informal relationship with them – yet I was labeled as a “FETÖ supporter” just for defending the rights of individuals who were merely claimed to be “associated” with this movement. Are you not aware of the danger? Have you not learned anything from the ongoing process? Do you not see that McCarthyist witch hunts are cancerous to your society? Do you think this cancer will not touch you! The deep-seated anger you have succumbed to, the internal spiral, has destroyed both the country and society. Stop this rampage! Put an end to this madness!

The reason I wrote this article is because I made a post on social media saying, “Anyone who ignores the social genocide dimension of what is being done to the Gülen Movement cannot be considered enlightened.” After this innocent, well-intentioned, discerning call, I can provide you with a psychiatric case study on how I was lynched, what was written under that post! There is indeed a serious ailment in society; it is a complete sociological cancer. Of course, this cancer is not triggered solely by resentment against the Gülen movement. It is also triggered by resentment against Kurds, Armenians, the LGBTQ+ community, Alevis, critical thinkers, free women, and feminists – against any marginalized group you can think of. Like a death machine programmed to self-destruct, the rampage continues. The country is rotting, decaying, and falling apart from micro to macro levels.

I invite rational, reasonable, self-respecting, and dignified individuals to put an end to this.

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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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