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Monday, February 19, 2018

Erdogan is pushing Turkey towards a systemic political crisis

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at the country’s constitutional court. The occasion was the decision of the COP to release journalists jailed on charges of spying for the dissemination of information about the Turkish military help ISIS. Erdogan’s actions are aimed at establishing full control of the country, undermining the already weak confidence in the EU.

On Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the constitutional court of the country in violation of the basic law in connection with the release of the two journalists who were arrested earlier for posting about the secret arms shipments to Syrian jihadists by the security services of Turkey.

“Erdogan’s statement proves that he is not psychologically adapted to the conditions of democracy”

“Unless the media can do whatever they want?”

According to him, the COP “has placed itself as the highest judicial authority” by intervening in an unfinished judicial process. “This is not a incident, and the espionage, an attempt to reveal the steps of the National intelligence organization against the (Syrian) the Turkomans. Those who tried to do it – military prosecutors – all now in prison. And we talk about violation of freedom of speech. Unless the media can do whatever they want?” – said Erdogan.

He is convinced that, accusing the country in support of the terrorist organization “Islamic state”, the journalists trying to defame Turkey.

We will remind, the chief editor of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet Jan Dundar and head of the Bureau of publications in Ankara Erdem Gul was arrested in November last year on charges of espionage. The Istanbul Prosecutor has demanded for them a life sentence. However, before cops found the arrest of journalists in violation of their rights, after which they were released from jail pending a court verdict.

The incident occurred in early 2014 in Adana province, when the soldiers inspected trucks of the National intelligence organization headed to Turkish-Syrian border. According to the version of the Turkish authorities, the truck was carrying humanitarian aid to Syrian Turkmens. However, in may 2015 Cumhuriyet has published photos and videos taken, according to the publication, during the search of the truck. You can see the crates of artillery shells, mortars and other ordnance. Erdogan soon after the publication addressed to the public Prosecutor, demanding to initiate criminal proceedings against the newspaper and its chief editor.

After the liberation Dündar said that he would try to go abroad. “The police called me this morning and demanded to hand over the passport, – the journalist noted. I this requirement is not respected and is not going to obey him”.

“Hands off our newspaper”

The population of Turkey with indignation senses pressure on the independent media. On Friday near the office of the opposition newspaper Zaman in Istanbul hosted a protest rally. An Istanbul court has appointed Trustees for the management of the newspaper, but the magazine’s staff fear its closure. The speakers demanded to stop persecution of media and to safeguard freedom of expression. In their view, the campaign to restrict freedom of the press is Erdogan.

Earlier, in an editorial Zaman reported on “entering into the last phase in terms of pressure on those who stubbornly remain independent in their publications”. It notes that journalists are now more likely to visit the courts than their offices. Most journalists who were arrested and faced with court action, are still in prison.

This is not the only case of prosecution of journalists in Turkey. On Tuesday, the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office launched an investigation against the editor and producer of news programs of TV channel CNN Turk, who are accused of quoting the words of the leader of the Republican people’s party in Turkey Kemal kılıçdaroğlu, said the President. Kılıçdaroğlu – old and the main opponent of Erdogan, traditionally in opposition to the incumbent President.

In September, Turkish police raided the offices of the media group Koza-Ipek Media, which has critical comments about erdoğan. As a result, were arrested six journalists with charges of funding and inciting terrorism. And before that were arrested with similar charges two British correspondent for Vice News.

On 11 December, the Turkish journalist was arrested for failure to appear in court on the case of insulting Erdogan. Before that a Turkish court has appointed examination on the case of insulting erdoğan – Çiftçi Bilgin the doctor has posted on his page in Facebook a few photos of Erdogan and Gollum near identical expressions of surprise and delight on their faces.

During the week it became known that the charges of insulting the President filed in respect of 1,845 thousand Turkish citizens. For this type of offence is subject to a fine or imprisonment for up to four years. Defendants in similar cases in the past were Turkish athletes, artists, journalists and even students.

“Erdogan is not psychologically adapted to the conditions of democracy”

Director of the research center “the middle East-the Caucasus” Stanislav Tarasov notes that Turkish society has a very negative reaction and opposes government interference in the media. Now on several Turkish channels are analytical debate about the situation. According to the expert, many of the speakers are outraged that thus violated classical canons of democratic standards.

“Turkey still considered myself a democratic country in which there is separation of powers. The constitutional court is the highest court whose decisions can be challenged only judicially. The constitutional court submits to the President and the Prime Minister, deputies and ordinary citizens. Erdogan’s statement shows that he is not psychologically adapted to the conditions of democracy,” Tarasov said the newspaper VIEW.

According to him, Erdogan’s statement once again demonstrates the rolling up of the country to a systemic political crisis, whose meaning lies in the successful conduct of the scenario of election of the President by popular vote. Before this President was elected by Parliament, which is elected also by popular vote. As a result, in the legal field formed the vacuum gap, and it is unclear how to resolve it.

Erdogan tried to influence the replacement of judges of the constitutional court, but notable successes have not achieved, what can be said about middle and lower level. The President managed to change the entire elite, which now serves its interests. “In the COP, there emerged individuals who believe that they represent the rule of law. And lunges Erdogan provoke a political crisis. In General, the debate around how to make it so that the President had no right to insult the COP,” – said the expert.

The opposition is trying to argue, but lacked a constitutional majority. So Erdogan can perform almost any of their decisions. “Erdogan acts like a bull in a China shop. He just crushes. He doesn’t listen to the West, sending him roughly, causing the execution of their foreign policy recommendations terms, the West can not go,” – said Tarasov.

However for journalists, the expert stresses, is still unable to work, because “in Turkey still a democracy.” “Not all journalists are suppressed. There are large financial groups that are not in solidarity with Erdogan, and they have a deterrent effect. My feeling is that 40 percent of the media is not under the control of the authorities. But as will continue to be a process that depends on many factors, including external”, – predicts Stanislav Tarasov.

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