ANKARA: We Are Ruining The Foundations Of Justice In Turkey


Thursday, April 13, 2006

The chief prosecutor of the Turkish supreme court, Nurettin Ok,
must definitely stand behind a recent statement he made about how the
leadership of Turkey has not put enough importance on the independence
of justice in this country and how politics has made its way into
the justice system itself.

Mehmet Ali Birand

Nurettin Ok, the chief prosecutor of the Turkish supreme court,
must definitely stand behind a recent statement he made about how the
leadership of Turkey has not put enough importance on the independence
of justice in this country and how politics has made its way into
the justice system itself. Ok’s analysis of the situation is spot
on. He has touched on the most important reason for the crisis being
experienced in the system today. There are phrases that you repeated
over and over in the government. They go: “Justice is independent. No
one should fear the scales of justice. Justice will arrive at the

The public, however, perceives things a bit differently. Whether true
or not, the public sees these phrases as sometimes being hollow,
sometimes meaningful, but definitely not consistent. This is the
result of some of the justice system’s past acts. In his column
on Tuesday Hurriyet’s Ertugrul Ozkok gave a few clear examples of
what I’m talking about. Pointing at a list of allegations about
the Welfare Party (RP) and the Milli Gorus (National View) movement
prepared by two of our most famous prosecutors, Savas and Yuksel,
Ozkok notes that rather than relying on any concrete evidence, these
allegations were based on personal opinions. What Ozkok says in his
column in true. This is also the impression among many members of
our society. Our leaders give the impression they are pleased with
the results emerging from the courts, which reflect the conditions
of the day or the direction the political winds are blowing. Let’s
look back into the past a bit… The words of former Justice Minister
Sami Turk, who said Article 312 of the penal code was interpreted in
an exaggerated manner, had a great effect on the public.

In former allegations a few articles from a writer, or even accusations
based entirely on rumor, would be accepted as information. General
applause for the prosecutors creating these questionable allegations
started to raise eyebrows and elicit questions from other circles.

After all, these were like the methods employed under communism during
the cold war years. Later, these methods continued, in an approach
seen as being protective of the secular republic and the unity of
the nation.

There’s no doubt that we were acting with good intentions.

But this sort of winking at justice brought along with it terrible
effects on the justice system as a whole.

Another important point is that we never attached enough importance
to the education of judges and prosecutors.

We didn’t prepare them for the changing conditions in Turkey and
in the world at large. We didn’t expand their horizons enough. We
treated them as though they were just any old bureaucrat. We didn’t
compensate them properly for the work they were doing. And now we
complain. But don’t we reap what we sow?

No matter what happens, if we don’t stop meddling in justice, Turkish
society as a whole will never trust it.

Ismet Berkan, the general editor of Radikal, also touched on a critical
point in his column yesterday.

The case against a group of journalists who criticized a court
decision to stop the Armenian conference held in Istanbul was dropped
this week. The journalists, for whom prison sentences of up to 10
years apiece were being sought, are Hasan Cemal, Ismet Berkan, Haluk
Sahin and Erol Katircioglu. In addition, the Bagcilar 2nd Criminal
Court, which was deciding matters in this case, announced that Kemal
Kerincsiz, a board member of the Legal Union Foundation, would not
be allowed to interfere in the case from now on.

Berkan noted: “We always talk about the heavy load on the justice
system. But this case actually shows why there has been such an
unnecessary increase in the load.” And in truth, there really is a
completely unnecessary load on the justice system, and it is being
increased, in fact, by our prosecutors themselves. Saying, “I’m going
to file a case and let the courts decide,” the prosecutors escape all
responsibility while clogging up the schedule of the courts. Completely
needless cases are filed against people.

They are brought before the public clamoring argument, and our image in
the world abroad is simultaneously ruined. The sensation behind these
cases grabs everyone’s immediate attention, though no one hears when
the cases are rejected. And thus, the idea that Turkey is a country
that tries to prevent freedom of thought is the only real lasting
impression remaining after everything is said and done.

Prosecutors, get to work.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS