The time of monsters
I had once written that, “Writing a history of the press is something like living with two watches… On one side, I am in 2004. On the other, in 2023…”
This week, I had the goal of walking with my 2004 side, but two things held me in 2023.
The first is May 1st, which is still banned from being commemorated in Taksim Square.
The second is Figen Calikusu’s book “The July 15 Judiciary in 101 Questions.”
May 1st is purportedly a holiday, yet the city is under police occupation, the helicopters watch us from above, the entrances to the subway stations are closed. The workers who yearned to go to Taksim for May 1st are arrested, the journalists are attacked and beaten.
This is the primitiveness for which we are seen fit by the political establishment which for 40 years did not change the September 12 regime and thus surrendered to the fascism of July 15.
There is a completely different world somewhere guided by artificial intelligence... but we are not there.
In Turkey, we are reliving the insightful observation of Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci: "The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."
While advanced societies celebrate May 1st as a festival with their families and children, they also spend it looking for new social cures that are compatible with change.
For example, in Germany, there is a passionate debate about the proposal of the country's most powerful labor union, IG Metall, for a "four-day workweek" around alternative models...
Should the working week, which is currently 40 hours, be reduced to 32 hours, or should it be divided into four days of 10 hours each?
In our country, however, police helicopters fly over our heads and state violence roams free around us...
We are living in a time of becoming monstrous.
Lawyer Figen Calikusu describes this process of becoming monstrous which kills the law in her newly released book "The July 15 Judiciary in 101 Questions."
How that monster was born, how it increasingly became dominant in the judiciary, and how it continues to be, everything that happened has been carved like a statue...
The book, which also heralds the end of an era with its publication, is not just a documentary, but also a tomography of the July 15 judiciary...
The title of Chapter 6 of the book is "The July 15 Prosecutors."
The 29th question is as follows:
"Can the prosecutor be the main actor while the court is an extra?"
And the answer is:
"Yes, they can. Because this era became the era of prosecutors and their indictments.
When the law evaporates, can the court remain? It remained only in appearance, as the courts directly adopted the indictments of the prosecutors as the verdict in the case. The trial process also turned into a theater. In the July 15 judiciary, the opinions of the prosecutors about the essence of the case are the same as the final verdict.”
The author gives examples to help us understand the July 15 judiciary through prosecutors:
"We experienced detentions without evidence.
We also saw evidence being collected after detentions without evidence.
But it was the first time that I ever saw a prosecutor who made two police officers take one record, made them write down their opinion, and based on this opinion, ordered a detention warrant.
A prosecutor who turned an opinion, and the opinion of the investigating party at that, into evidence and initiated a detention according to this...
A July 15 prosecutor to the tee."
Calikusu also wrote:
“Let me briefly summarize the case being heard in the Court of Cassation.
A trial in which a judge who approved the illegal wiretapping request of National Intelligence Service (MIT) using a code name is being tried as a defendant.
In his opinion, the prosecutor of the Court of Cassation surprisingly requested an acquittal with the reasoning that 'It is understood that requesting measures to be taken by using a code name by the MIT both before and after the date of the crime and the acceptance of this request by the courts, even if it is against the law, is a well-established practice.'
A prosecutor who essentially says ‘It is a crime, but we will not punish it’... The prosecutor writes this in his opinion... And in the Court of Cassation at that.”
After reading the book " The July 15 Judiciary in 101 Questions," I was led to reflect more deeply on the period of rebuilding promised by Kemal Kilicdaroglu to "crown the Republic with democracy" and a time when "rights, justice, and the rule of law" would prevail.
I returned to the "Common Policies Consensus" by the opposition bloc and read the proposals of the People's Alliance. I once again came to the conclusion that if implemented urgently, they would contribute to social harmony.
The era of legal impunity for those who violate the law and even abuse it, and for those who promote them, is coming to an end. However, one question lingers in my mind:
What will happen to those who destroyed justice in the "July 15 judiciary?"
If Turkey is to become a rule of law state, we must not forget those who facilitated the emergence of the monster, those who became monsters, and those who fanned the flames of monstrosity.
* September 12, 1980 and July 15, 2016 are both dates of past coups in Turkey’s history.