Türkiye'nin en iyi köşe yazarları en güzel köşe yazıları ile Hürriyet'te! Usta yazarlar ve gündemi değerlendiren köşe yazılarını takip edin.

We all let Ergenekon get out of hand

Ergenekon is one of the most important cases in the history of the Turkish judiciary. For the first time since the establishment of the Republic, we have encountered a trial regarding those who are planning or paving the way for a coup. Up until now coups were justified endeavors that were directed toward the benefit of the country or the survival of democracy.

And the process was as follows:

The civilians would provoke a coup, call the military to duty and applaud after the coup was achieved. And right after that, a "military back to quarters" campaign would start. Each coup would further harm the democratic process that it was supposed to save and it would end with a devastation of the image of political authorities and the Turkish Armed Forces. Then the military would retreat back to their quarters, but new coups would hang over political authorities like the sword of Damocles. And provocateurs who are at odds with the administration would blackmail the administration with the thread, "A new coup might follow."

For the first time, those who are trying to disturb the democratic process are called to account. But it is a pity that we, as always, have not been able to do this properly. Things have gotten so chaotic that everybody makes up his very own Ergenekon. Everyone interprets Ergenekon differently. What’s even worse is that this case has branched out so much that it is not certain how it will end. Chances are that it will persist for years and nobody will remain in custody. Either innocent people will be called to account together with the guilty ones or the guilty ones will escape profiting from the existing chaos.

So, who is responsible for today’s situation?

Where does this confusion come from?

Who is responsible for developments that even drove Haşim Kılıç, the chairman of the Constitutional Court, out of his mind?

To tell the truth, there is not just one person responsible. According to me, the foremost responsibility lies on the shoulders of the interrogation and judiciary mechanisms. There is nothing to say about the quality or intent of the prosecutors and the police. They do whatever they can but it seems there is only so much they can do.

w The case expanded. Allegations have turned into a conspiracy theory rather than concrete evidence.

w Investigations are conducted in wave style and after almost each wave a new indictment is prepared.

w People taken into custody have created suspicion. The way people were taken into custody created an impression as if legal rules were broken.

w Open-ended allegations were not convincing.

All this caused important questions to come up in the public and the belief regarding allegations took a hit.

On top of that, when those conducting the investigation constantly served some part of the media, it even raised more questions regarding the direction and content of the investigation.

The government, from the very beginning, identified with Ergenekon and claimed it as their own investigation, saying, "You’ll see what surfaces." The impression of a "hunt for opposition" spread as this attitude was combined with constant publications by the pro-administration media.

The opposition, reacting to each person taken into custody without even reading the allegation or waiting for the evidence, has fanned the flames of this chaos. The case has been identified with the AKP government, and the opposition has taken on the duty of the lawyer. It started to defend real criminals alongside the seemingly innocent people.

We also need to blame ourselves. In general we act irresponsibly, but this time it tops everything. The pro-administration media went on such an opposition hunt and pushed those taken into custody in such a smear campaign that the case changed its appearance. By revealing information on who was to be taken into custody when, who said what in secret recordings and private phone conversations, a penalty was imposed on people even before they were tried.

The opposition media was not any better. Papers and the TV saw high ratings and wanted to have their share.

If I were to summarize, I’d have to say that we are all guilty. We are spoiling Turkey’s most important case. We all, prosecutors, judges, administration, opposition and media should make a note of Haşim Kılıç’s speech at the opening of the Constitutional Court building last week. I’d like to repeat basic points of messages addressing us.

Let’s see if anyone will understand. The honor of those pronounced guilty without a verdict is being destroyed. This is a crime against humanity. Carelessness in the process of law enforcement creates hard-to-fix scars on the dignity of people. Necessary regulations need to be made before the anger resulting from the destroyed honor of mankind turns into a feeling of taking revenge on democracy and the state of law. The struggle to estrange people from their personal convictions continues by picking to pieces the personal lives of judges and prosecutors. Prosecutors remaining motionless in order to impress the judiciary is thought provoking.