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Turkey: Describing Atrocities Without Showing Them

While Turkey prosecutes those who annoy it for violating the Constitution, it is governed by a gang that flagrantly tramples on the Constitution. Innocent people are taken from their homes almost daily and taken to cells, where they do not know how long they will be held captive, with Article 309 of the Turkish Penal Code hung around their necks: “Those who attempt to abolish, replace, or prevent the implementation of the order provided by the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey using force and violence shall be punished with aggravated life imprisonment.”

This network, operating like an “organization committing constitutional crimes,” turns the constitutional order upside down while pinning its crimes on decent people. It does not stop there. As their criminal record grows, they secure their gang members by updating laws almost every year. The 8th judicial reform package on the agenda of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) is just one link in the chain. One of the main issues is providing a shield of impunity to trustees appointed to collapsed companies.

The opposition has raised objections: “In a legal state where the constitutional order prevails, not even trustees, let alone anyone, can be granted criminal, administrative, and legal immunity.”

Laugh or cry. Those who have seized the state lock up those who say ‘law’ and pre-emptively clear themselves, what are you objecting to?

Separate from the main topic: The Mining Law is being changed for the 21st time during the AKP period. It has been changed 29 times in the last 40 years, not clean before that either. The Tender Law is even worse, having been changed almost 200 times. I saw the ‘198th amendment’ figure last. There are two simple reasons for such frequent changes:

Regulations tailored to individuals or projects. Legalizing illegal activities through laws. Like traffic lights turning from red to green as you approach. With one difference, after you pass, the lights will turn red again.

Just manufacturing crimes is not enough to imprison or eliminate people who do their jobs properly. You must also shelve the principles of individuality of crimes and non-retroactivity of laws. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu explained on Artı TV in January 2023: “Our country ranks first in the number of citizens subjected to terrorism investigations. Two million people have been accused of terrorism. The global number is three hundred thousand.”

I came across a heated moment on Habertürk. Serkan Toper, a lawyer and MHP’s Beşiktaş candidate, insulted his opponent by saying, “I have more clients than your party has votes.” Mehmet Emin Ekmen of the DEVA Party didn’t hold back and retorted: “Of course, if you wrap up cases in the Supreme Court, your clients will flee.”

Looking at the comments, everyone seems to know and be aware of everything. Wouldn’t there be a single soul to object? There wasn’t.

I watched The Zone of Interest. Let me finish with that. One of the award-winning films of the year. A British production but in German. You watch the life in a house adjacent to a camp’s wall. A film flowing with wide and still camera angles. A dreamlike life in a house with a garden, a pool, and servants. That’s how it starts. Within minutes, you learn that Rudolf Höss and his family live in the house, and the camp is Auschwitz. Höss, the camp commander, is responsible for the deaths of at least 2.5 million people. The camp’s atrocities are depicted through distant sounds, telling of the calamity without showing it.

Were the civilians in the house aware of what was happening on the other side of the wall, the gas chambers, the crematorium?

When the commander’s wife, angry at her servant, says something like, “If I wanted, my husband could turn you into ash!”, you realize she knows. In one scene, women discuss how they divide the jewelry and belongings left by the Jews. You hear a child who peeks through the curtain towards where the sounds come from, then quickly closes it and murmurs, “I won’t do it again.”

If everyone, including children, was aware of everything 80 years ago, how could it be any different today?

The people annihilated, those who share the spoils, those who hear screams and do not react.

The film does not depict people as monsters, but you know they are devils.

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