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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Erdogan is pushing Turkey to a systemic political crisis

Turkish 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 on Turkish military help ISIS. The actions of Erdogan is aimed at establishment of full control over the country, that undermines the already weak trust of 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 the publication of the secret supplies of weapons to Syrian jihadists by the security services of Turkey.

“Erdogan’s statement shows 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 himself as the Supreme judicial authority” by intervening in pending litigation. “This is not an ordinary incident, and the espionage, the attempt to reveal the steps of the National intelligence organization against the (Syrian) Turkomans. Those who tried to do it – military prosecutors – all now in prison. And we talk about the violation of freedom of speech. Unless the media can do whatever they want?” – Erdogan said.

He is convinced that, accusing the country of supporting the terrorist organization “Islamic state”, the journalists are trying to discredit Turkey.

We will remind, the chief editor of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet Jana Dündar and Bureau chief of the publication in Ankara Erdem Gul was arrested in November last year on charges of espionage. The Istanbul Prosecutor’s office demanded a life sentence. However, before cops found the arrest of journalists, 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, marching to the Turkish-Syrian border. According to Turkish authorities, the trucks were carrying humanitarian aid to Syrian Turkmens. However, in may 2015 Cumhuriyet published photos and videos taken, according to the publication, during a search of the truck. They show boxes with artillery shells, mortars and other ordnance. Erdogan soon after the publication asked the Prosecutor, demanding to initiate criminal proceedings against the newspaper and its editor-in-chief.

After the liberation Dündar announced that he will 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”

Turkey’s population perceives with indignation the pressure on the independent media. On Friday near the office of the opposition newspaper Zaman in Istanbul held 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 the persecution of media and to safeguard freedom of speech. According to them, the campaign for freedom of the press is Erdogan.

Earlier, in an editorial Zaman reported on “the entry 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 attend the courts than their offices. Most journalists who were arrested and faced court action, are still in prison.

This is not the only case of persecution 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 of Turkey Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said the President. Kılıçdaroğlu is a long – standing and the main opponent of Erdogan, traditionally in opposition to the current President.

In September, Turkish police raided the offices of media group Koza-Ipek Media, which has repeatedly spoken out critically against Erdogan. 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 detained for failing to appear in court on the case of insulting Erdogan. Before that, the 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 cases involving charges of insulting the President filed against 1,845 thousands of Turkish citizens. For this type of offense is subject to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 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 said that the Turkish society very negatively reacts to what is happening and opposes government interference in the work of the media. Now on several Turkish channels are analytical debates about the current 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 where there is separation of powers. The constitutional court – the highest court, whose decisions can be challenged only in a legal manner. The constitutional court submits to the President and the Prime Minister, MPs, 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 demonstrates once again rolling the country’s systemic political crisis, whose meaning lies in the successful conduct of the scenario of election of the President by popular vote. Before the 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 the visible progress is not achieved, what can be said about middle and lower level. The President almost managed to change the entire elite, which now serves its interests. “In the COP there are individuals who believe that they represent a legal state. But Erdogan attacks 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 it does not have a constitutional majority. So Erdogan can carry out almost any your decision. “Erdogan is acting like a bull in a China shop. He just crushes. He does not listen to the West, sending him roughly, causing the implementation of their recommendations foreign policy terms, on which the West can not go,” – said Tarasov.

However for journalists, the expert emphasizes, there are possibilities to work, since in Turkey still a democracy.” “Not all journalists are depressed. There are large financial groups that do not agree 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 how things will proceed, depends on many factors, including external”, – predicts Stanislav Tarasov.

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