Integrity is not something society can bestow upon anybody. Integrity comprises the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right. It demands honesty, ethics, morals, uprightness, high principles, decency, virtue, fairness, and reliability. All these cannot thrive in an environment of dishonor.
Literature summarizes the attributes of integrity as including honesty (telling the truth, being open, not taking advantage of others), responsibility (keeping promises and helping others). Aren’t all these attributes a matter that concerns Erdogan?
Erdogan vowed, “We will embrace all 85 million people regardless of their political views, origins, or sect.” What did he mean? Was he serious or was he cheating?
During the pre-poll campaigns, Erdogan, in his victory speech on the night of the May 28 presidential runoff, told a massive crowd outside the presidential palace in Ankara that former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and human rights lawyer Demirtas is a “terrorist” and responsible for the deaths of 51 people during street protests in the predominantly Kurdish province of Diyarbakır in 2014. Following his remarks, his supporters chanted “Execution for Selo,” referring to Demirtas.
Could Demirtas have been right in his reaction by describing Erdogan as “the elderly king, who is drunk with a fraudulent and fake victory and continues his spree of slander, threats, and insults from the balcony of his luxurious palace” and his supporters as a “lynching crowd intoxicated by lies and pleasure”?
One Syrian Kurd was quoted as telling AFP that his people “spend their entire life fleeing, estranged, and suffering.” What about the wandering sisters who dream of one day returning home and hope… “the war will end, so we can be free”? They long for something “good to revive people’s souls.”
Turkish star Merve Dizdar was awarded the best actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in “About Dry Grasses.” She dedicated her prize “to all the rebellious souls in Turkey waiting to live the good days that they deserve.”
The latest report from the human rights organization Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST) points to Erdogan’s government’s appalling crimes against humanity, such as abduction, enforced disappearances, and torture. The report also highlights an existing climate of impunity in favor of the perpetrators of these crimes, indicating a systemic disregard for human rights and democratic values.
Popular Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu was subjected to a sham trial in January 2022 and disqualified from running in the parliamentary and presidential elections. Now, ahead of the 2024 March municipal elections, a new charge has been framed against him. During the campaign, Erdogan targeted Kilicdaroglu for his Alevi identity, accusing him of supporting “terrorists.”
To cap it all, Erdogan has subjected a segment of his people he identifies as members of the Gülen Movement to untold oppressions, suppressions, and tortures after falsely holding them responsible for the July 15, 2016 attempted coup.
As I was analyzing this, news arrived on my desk on July 7, 2023, quoting the new interior minister Ali Yerlikaya revealing the detention of 748 individuals in the month of June alone over alleged links with Gulen. This is nothing short of an escalation taking place within the echoes of Erdogan’s vow to “embrace all 85 million people regardless of their political views, origins, or sect.”
What is highly regrettable about the entire scenario is that all these injustices are based on a false flag coup, as confirmed by Brig.-Gen. Kubilay Selcuk’s defense, which reveals that the coup was planned. One of the 171 generals for whom arrest warrants were issued said that the division in Turkish society began before July 15, and the groundwork was laid for the event.
Gen. Selcuk, former Commander of the Cigil 2nd Main Jet Base, who was sentenced to 141 years’ life imprisonment, says, “As a former soldier who has served the Turkish Armed Forces for 41 years with genuine dedication, I am not a conspirator. I am not a coup plotter. I am someone who has been arrested for political reasons and being tried with baseless allegations. Reluctantly, I will also evaluate the political background of the savagery and massacre that occurred at the level of this political conspiracy and what kind of future it will bring.”
According to him, on the night of July 15, Prosecutor Necip Iscimen at 22:08 detected the aircraft flying over Ankara, and in the 57th minute, at 23:05, he suddenly found information documents and managed to create lists demanding the immediate arrest of 171 generals. Most of these individuals were not active in any field that night. Some of them were at the camp, even contacting relevant ministers and bureaucrats, asking for assistance. And what happened? Life imprisonment for them.
On the other hand, then Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar saw that the enemy had initiated an attack from the turbine, but unfortunately, for some reason, he deliberately and intentionally did not inform the unit commanders with him, especially the Commander-in-Chief, saying that there was deliberate information about the attack.
“It is not possible to explain this… The nation’s own sons were sacrificed in a conspiracy… and thrown into prisons. Even now, there is no explanation for the fact that ballistic examinations have not been conducted, witnesses have not been summoned, and witnesses who were secretly taken away in special sessions. Can they explain these issues?”
Indeed, the facts about the July 15, 2016 planned-to-fail coup have continued to unfold over the years. July 15, 2023, will mark the seventh anniversary. And the world now knows that the coup was a false flag. Unashamedly, Erdogan clings to this lie to hide his intentions and even goes to the extent of taking an oath to become the new, same, old, and numberless President of Turkey.