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

This bill is a rebellion against the military

Perhaps one of the most important bills in Turkey’s political life passed last week.

A bill that leaves the military and justice disabled in regards to crimes committed against order and crimes like coups, junta, terror, gangs and alike that need to be investigated and prosecuted. In summary, a way has been paved that allows for military personnel involved in such crimes to be tried in a civil court and Parliament passing this bill is very important.

Turkey for the first time has openly put forth that coup or junta type attempts will be taken to a court of law. We are experiencing this type of development for the first time in recent history. For the first time, a civil administration is rebelling against the military and is taking action.

No matter from which angle or how you look at it, we see that a civil administration in Turkey is rebelling against the authority of the military. If we leave aside the way this bill passed Parliament and arguments thereof, if we look to the heart of this, we see how important this bill is for the country’s future political life.

According to the new bill, whatever the crime may be, civilians will no longer be tried in military courts. The important change has been made to paragraph 250/3 of the criminal court law. Accordingly, military personnel in times of peace committing a crime that falls under the authority of the court established as per paragraph 250, a trial will be provided by these courts of law. This also encompasses coup attempts or any other attempts trying to prevent the government or Parliament from performing their duties. The truth of the matter is that the authority to investigate junta or coup attempts rests on civilian prosecutors.

We need not interpret this bill as if the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, is waiting for an opportunity and won’t take any action. I know that the TSK is not after a coup and is aware that even if it wants to, the period for coups has passed. Nevertheless, this bill has started to apply an extremely important moral pressure. A step has been taken no other civil administration thought about or even had the courage to take. But we also shouldn’t see this bill as an enemy of the military. We are entering a period in which natural and international rule has been applied in Turkey and a balance in the relationship between the military and the civil administration in favor of civil administrations has been struck. A step that as the source of all former interventions introduced a new period that will also lead to a change in the Internal Service Act of the TSK. That’s why this last bill is of vital importance.

Why is the CHP against it?

The CHP was not able to explain to society why it opposed the bill regarding the trial of military personnel involved in crimes of intervention in politics in civil courts.

The general perception is that CHP deputies, while voting last Thursday night, "skipped" while an amendment was made or as the prime minister said, "they slept." If they had been alert, they’d at least have objected. Their complaints - "they have staged a coup, we were deceived" - do not quite satisfy the public. To be more precise, CHP spokespeople were not quite convincing in their statements. On the contrary, the AKP’s statements were more trustworthy, despite the fact that such a bill was passed after midnight and hastily. This objection can be read only as the CHP’s carelessness. It becomes widespread with each passing day that there is some clumsiness involved on the part of the CHP regarding the act of voting for the bill.

The CHP does not say it aloud but it is not in favor of military personnel being tried by a civil court, but it is unable to explain why.

Then there is an aspect regarding the contents of the bill, which brings this question to mind: Does the CHP oppose military personnel being tried before a civil court no matter what this person does?

The CHP does not want to say it aloud but its attitude is along the lines of "I won’t victimize military personnel to civilians." The same CHP fought in 1961 during the preparation of the Constitution to "have the General Staff report to the prime minister instead of to the Minister of Defense." Members of the CHP probably don’t want the status quo to change because they don’t believe in civil justice or because of the possibility that civil justice could be under the influence of the AKP.

But this attitude only reveals a continuation of a traditional loving bond between the TSK and the CHP.

Or it is interpreted this way because they are unable to explain this in a proper way. Under these circumstances the only thing the CHP evokes with its attitude is affection, a CHP that wants to try pro-coup people from 29 years ago by eliminating temporary paragraph 15 in the Constitution.