By Taha Akyol
April 17 2014
Akif Emre, one of the writers at daily Yeni Şafak, referred to the battle between the government and the Gülen community as “a state of madness.” Noting that political and religious concepts were interfering in this fight, he emphasized that attributing religious features to “this extremely political” clash was, more than anything else, disrespectful to religion.
These words of his are especially important: “I wish Turkish Muslims were able to discuss in a healthy way their Islamic thinking before being caught up in the political power struggle.”
In that case a more serious attitude would be possible, and a better stance would be developed in approaching the opportunities and strengths that come from the functions of modern economic and modern states, which were not present in old Islamic law books. However, extreme politicization has caused all values in life to be reduced to political fights.
Such a domination of politics also damages our legal system and legal culture. Indeed, we have issues in the legal field. But shouldn’t we try to solve them according to universal law and work for the universal legal culture to develop in our country? No, we are doing just the opposite. We are exposing the fundamental concepts of law, as well as our rooted legal establishments, to an “extremely political” pressure.
Look at the attacks against the Constitutional Court. Those who call the high court “parallel,” have you heard any reference from them to the practices of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)? Has one singular political voice uttered, “This is how ECHR practices law?”
If we impose a “politically for us, politically against us” discrimination, instead of assessing judicial institutions and judicial officials according to the fundamental concepts of law, do you expect justice to remain in this country?
To applaud with huge enthusiasm the judge “for us” who arrested the policemen in Adana - but to angrily stigmatize as “parallel” the judge who released them - this is a typical example of viewing incidents that are legal issues only through political lenses.
The judge who arrested them, what was his justification? What were the charges? The upper court that released them after an objection, why did the judge reverse the arrests? Has evidence been collected in a file? Is the evidence adequate?
Because the investigation is confidential, we do not know for the moment. Because we do not know, isn’t it necessary to tread carefully and avoid turning it into a political polemic?
We have a good tradition in our culture of “Not speaking on a matter that has been passed to court,” which at the same time is a provision of law. Nevertheless, do you see how our beautiful tradition and the provision of law are evaporating in the fire of politics?
The Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) cannot review the verdicts of judges and prosecutors, but it sends inspectors if the judges or prosecutors behave contrary to laws and practices, or if they launch an investigation. But it is against the law to stigmatize a judge or a prosecutor as “reactionary” as was done yesterday, or “parallel” as done today, because this creates the concern of being discriminated against when judges and prosecutors reach an unsatisfying decision.
These kinds of stigmatisations are absolutely against the independence of the judiciary.
Our past experiences should have taught us that it is wrong to both restrict the natural field of politics and to enable politics to dominate every field. Religion, law, intellectual and cultural life, private life, social pluralism; these are the windpipes of nations that politics should never interfere in.