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HomeTop Stories On TurkeyErdogan regime based on lies: From December 17 corruption scandal to July 15 coup attempt

Erdogan regime based on lies: From December 17 corruption scandal to July 15 coup attempt

The foundation of Erdogan regime is a lie. It is only persevered because of the fact that they are capable of making the majority of the people buy it.  To be honest, they did a very good job. Although it is important to be skilled in lying, it is more important to persuade people to this lie. They were successful. As far as politics is concerned, this is the kind of political science they perceive. They lied like a trooper, they still do, and they will. However, none of the lies are important except the one they told in the very beginning. None of their lies act as the principal role as their first ones, and none of their lies underpins the regime they built except the first and foremost lie they told. 

I am precisely talking about 17 December 2013.

17 December is a very important milestone in the history of the Turkish Republic. Not only the law was merely ignored out of the blue; it was entirely thumped down altogether whereas it was out of the question not to be abided by and feared in the history of Turkey where it was rarely ignored except during wartime and coups. Separation of powers and the powers that equilibrate one another were unavoidably established after the multi-party system and they got their claws into the courts, in other words, the judiciary power that was well outside their span of authority, which are constitutional obligations and safeguarded by the constitution itself towards being independent and neutral, with the initiative of the executive organ under the command of Erdogan, which is the government itself.

How did he manage this? Because this is not something possible merely by writing, telling, making laws, making statements, or blank rhetoric. I am talking about taking possession of the state, civilian coup, absolute rulership, and abandoning the ability to limit the power of the rulership with laws. A rulership that subdues the judicial power means that it staged a civilian coup and established an absolute regime by means of destroying the constitutional norms and order. This is exactly how they got rid of the operation and investigation initiated on 17 December 2013 with such a scandal and civilian coup. Therefore, the fact that the people do not know what actually happened on the 17th of December 2013 is crucial, even vital for the representatives of this regime, who are neck-deep in trouble over crimes.

What happened on the 17th of December?

Erdogan and his entourage were forced to make a decision over a very important subject on 17 December 2013. They were either going to take action as required by law and submit to the police investigation and judicial process which were already in motion or completely stop them somehow. This was not the first time Turkey witnessing a corruption case. However, the level of corruption that surfaced looked like it was going to pave the way up to treason. It was not merely about bribes or misfeasance. It was about a chain of crimes related to something that had international extent; cooperating with the agents of a third state; protecting and watching over the interests of such third state against the motherland; thus, being able to create a multi-billion dollar crime organization. Consequently, the dirt that was to be covered was colossal. Therefore, the precaution they must take was to be extraordinary and comprehensive.  

And they rolled up their sleeves and got themselves into the inconceivable instead of submitting to the law, going with the flow, accepting their fate, and doing the necessary for what is left from their morals, honor, and self-respect, or whatever you may want to call it.

They made the constables and members of the judiciary appointed to carry out the investigation withdraw from the case. It was not enough. They also exiled those constables and members of the judiciary to different cities. It was still not enough. They appointed different people; the ones who are trusted to carry out everything on behalf of them. The next thing they knew was that these people also cannot paper over the cracks; they appointed new substitutes and then even more substitutes to replace the old substitutes. They just could not do right for doing wrong. The people were following the news online. Everybody had learned the truth. The people were listening to the tapes published online. The opposition party, CHP (Republican People’s Party) and MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) were assuring the people with words of honor, and Kemal Kilicdaroglu was reading the transcripts of the tapes on the rostrum of TBMM (Grand National Assembly of Turkey) in order to have TBMM take the minutes, and MHP leader Bahceli was saying that he would follow hard upon the case. The genie was out of the bottle.

Erdogan and his entourage were to take some very strategic decisions under such circumstances. Indeed, they did. First and foremost, they announced the infamous “conspiracy against the national army” statement about the Ergenekon investigations. Coordinately, the first wave of releases of the convicts related to the Ergenekon cases took place in a week or so. The negotiations with the Kurds (Settlement Process) were stopped. And most importantly, it was declared that the investigation started on 17 December 2013 was organized by the Gulen Movement as a coup attempt. Gulen Movement was accused of staging a civilian coup and indicted as a PDY (Parallel State Structure). “Reports” were drawn up dictating that all of the tapes were fake and produced in a studio with the cut/paste method. And then there was a miracle. Somehow, the opposition accepted this discourse. The tapes, which were listened to by millions of people; shared on social media; published in numerous newspapers and T.V. channels; discussed by journalists, were declared fake and the people acknowledged this for some reason. However, everybody knew the score!

Thus, the people started to play ostrich about a subject where they exactly knew what it was all about. One should be stupid in order not to understand or why AKP (Justice and Development Party) actually did this. However, why the other segments of the society did this? This is the question.

Some of the things became clear at this distance of time. Everybody saw and still see what kind of a regime was built over this lie. They also live and experience it, as Barbaros Sansal, a Turkish fashion designer and activist says they are also being “smothered” while doing so. Obviously, they had some expectations. Otherwise, why would they embrace this lie and the things built on top of it? 

Let me write what I saw:

MHP liked the fact that the ‘Settlement Process’ with the Kurds was terminated. He also received the chance for staffing inside the state since AKP needed his support for the presidential government. Do not underestimate! It is very delicious; there is no political party in the Middle East that you cannot persuade with such an offer. Populism, political expedience, economic spoils… Does someone need anything more? Then everybody should agree that it is quite obvious why MHP acknowledged this lie. This is more than enough. 

CHP liked the fact that the Gulen Movement was put away. “Religionists will go at each other tooth and nail, and then when the cat is away, the mice will play…” This was their Kemalist reflex in motion. Their party base was relieved together with the perception of cleansing the government from the “almond-shaped mustaches”. Is there a single CHP voter who could resist this? Starting from the fanatically democrat ones, I personally do not know any CHP followers who would not be pleased when they hear “cleansing the government from the Gulenists”. Believe me, this is as simple as that.    

All of the parties and their bases inside the Turkish public opinion fell for the lie after 17 December 2013 especially after the controlled coup attempt on 15 July 2016. Let me put it this way: The 15 July conspiracy would not come to life, which was “the least liked” by one of the prime ministers, Binali Yildirim, if there was not the lie they brought forward after 17 December 2013. The arrival of 15 July 2016 was quite obvious after 17 December 2013. Thus, the PDY organization was “promoted” to “Gulenist Terror Organization” after the 15th of July. There we are: it was crucial for the government to adopt the official discourse that suggested the tapes revealed on 17 December 2013 and afterwards were fake beforehand in order to come up with the attribution “FETO” (Gulenist Terror Organization).

What happened is quite obvious up until this point, so let’s come to the conclusion now. My ten fingers already managed to memorize where to press on the keyboard after 5 years writing the same things over and over again. After all, you all have seen and understood what happened. However, the result is:

Erdogan Bayraktar, one of the Ministers of Erdogan Government, who was targeted by the prosecutors of these corruption investigations back in 2013, decided to make a statement at a face clip along the lines of that ell these tape records were actually real, everything was original, and there was no cutting or pasting. Whoosh! I only provided you the meaning of his statement; let me also make history and quote his exact statement. Please read what he said: “Both the tapes and the audio surveillance about me, whatever is included in my file is correct; and also, all of my phone conversations from A to izzard are accurate.” Audio surveillance is accurate! Tapes are accurate! Phone conversations are accurate! From A to izzard! Who is saying this? One of the four ministers! Which one? The one who stated, “Whatever I did, I did it within the Prime Minister’s (Erdogan) knowledge” after being busted.

He said that the lie was actually a lie known by all of you. You all know what is right and heaven knows why the vast majority people in Turkey still choose to play ignorant. A known lie that continues to be told is the main load-bearing column of the regime! It became more essential than the constitution itself! Everything started with and was built on this lie, and it reproduces itself day by day since it perseveres. Not only the constables and the members of the judiciary, who were the investigative body and did their endeavor, are all in jail but also their spouses, children, and lawyers are locked up too.

Well, with all due respect, you do not deserve any other regime than 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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