Ali Duran Topuz
Turkey: Media and politics in custody
Abdurrahman Gok, Sedat Yılmaz, and Dicle Muftuoglu, along with their friends, are currently in custody. Merdan Yanardağ was apprehended, put behind bars, and recently freed. Tolga Şardan was arrested yesterday. Former HDP (People's Democratic Party) MP Huda Kaya has been detained while the Sardan is ongoing. Despite a Constitutional Court ruling, TİP (Worker's Party of Turkey) Hatay MP Can Atalay remains imprisoned—weekly summary: Media taken into custody. Politics is being held in custody.
An impossible arrest
What was the reason for Sardan's arrest? There is no correlation between Sardan's actions and the article cited in the accusation. Let me emphasize that Dogan Akın wrote:
"Spreading false information about national security, public order, or public health intending to cause fear or panic can cause imprisonment for one to three years."
Sardan's article concerns "public order," not general health or security. What did Sardan write?
"Following the President's directive, MIT investigated the allegations in the judiciary and compiled a report."
If there is no such instruction or investigation/report, does "fear and panic" follow from this? Even if neither the president nor the intelligence services were interested in the matter, how could "public peace" be disturbed? How can an article/news item not conducive to disturbing public peace that is not even remotely related to creating "fear and panic" be "grounds for arrest" based on this article?
Tolga Sardan wrote a news article using backstage information he got through his usual journalistic methods. It is common for backstage information to need to be completed or updated. The law does not state that erroneous backstage information should lead to arrest. The law focuses on whether there is a motive to create anxiety, fear, or panic. It requires that the information be deliberately misleading and disseminated, which disrupts public peace. It should also be related to internal or external security, public health, safety, or order. Does the article meet these criteria? Is its presence or absence mentioned in the arrest warrant? No, the arrest warrant simply states that it is one of the catalog crimes. But this is not the crime listed in the law.
The baseless reasoning
Then, the question of how Tolga Sardan was arrested has only one answer: in complete violation of the law. If his arrest was unlawful, another question arises: why was he arrested? Merdan Yanardag was arrested for going against the "consensus" on the execution regime for Abdullah Ocalan. So, what "consensus" could Tolga Sardan have broken? Even if his writing was incorrect, there must have been a reason for his arrest. No information or documentation is stating that what he wrote was false.
Only ten minutes after his arrest, the "Presidential Communications Directorate Center for Combating Disinformation" announced no such report, implying that disinformation was being spread. Another authority later explained the justification for the judicial decision after the verdict. However, as we mentioned before, even if their writing is untrue, it does not justify an arrest. The Presidency has intervened to create the impression that there is no justification because the court did not provide it. The power to "arrest" lies with the Kulliye (Presidential Palace) bureaucracy rather than the court.
Tolga Sardan's arrest was not based on whether his writings were right or wrong but simply on the act of writing itself. These decisions highlight the nature of the judicial system and information regime in the developing "republic of the second century" state. The judiciary operates solely according to the government's plans, disregarding justice or legal regulations. Regardless of what is stated in laws, undisclosed laws, instructions, and interpretations take precedence. If the written law is deemed invalid and decisions are not based on logical reasoning, then what is truly at stake?
MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) leader Devlet Bahceli has described it as the "I will take your mind" law. For the anti-law to be effective, there must be an anti-judgment and anti-rationality approach. Under this system, there is strict control over the information regime. Tolga Sardan was arrested not for expressing right or wrong opinions but for failing to seek approval from "the state." The Directorate of Communication's statement emphasizes that no one has the authority to determine right or wrong. If anyone does so, their life and mind will be taken away.
The judiciary as a crime factory
In modern Turkey, the judiciary, responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime, has become a criminal mechanism. Unlawful detention is a crime. The arrest of Tolga Sardan, Gultan Kısanak's seven-year detention, Huda Kaya, and the failure to release Can Atalay are all crimes.
The Minister of Justice's comment on the Can Atalay verdict revealed the true nature of the regime. Per the Constitutional Court's ruling, Atalay was supposed to be released immediately. However, the court forwarded the file to the Supreme Court of Appeals and failed to fulfill its obligation to release him, as mandated by the ruling. The minister praised this illegal act, mentioning all the lawyers in the country as witnesses. As a result, Atalay stayed in jail. When a person is unlawfully imprisoned, the crime is called "binding the liberty," what the ancients used to call "man-lifting."
In summary, "Anti-law" is a criminal strategy that eliminates all legal methods. The minister accuses the Constitutional Court of exceeding its constitutional authority. The minister's words show that the heavy criminal court, which sent the file to the Supreme Court, acted as instructed by the new regime.
The "regime of lawlessness" has been around for a while, but now it's becoming more systematic. In this article, we discussed the "arrested" individuals, but we must also consider those who have not been arrested, as they provide a clear link between the old and new regimes.
Nine individuals lost their lives in a house fire thirty years ago in a remote village. The sole survivor of the household filed a criminal complaint, stating that the soldiers burned, but nobody paid attention. "Proceedings" began in 2003, after a new criminal complaint was filed, ten years after the initial incident. Results were obtained from this process only after a decade, leading to a lawsuit in 2013. The file was received and lost, and events unfolded, leading to an arrest warrant in 2021 for the commander responsible for the house burnings. For two years, he has avoided being caught or found. He receives his complete pension, however...
What information does this file provide? Burning people can sometimes be legal. Like in Vartinis, state officials also do it. The blame is first redirected towards another party, such as the PKK, as seen in Vartinis. The truth may be concealed, but if not, alternative methods exist: Documents, evidence, testimonies, statements, papers, and instructions circulate within bureaucratic circles, time elapses, and statutes of limitations come into play. Without political responsibility, media interest, or societal awareness, even burning a person can go unpunished. They call this the policy of impunity, or in more understandable terms, the policy of retaining "the state's right t."
Is there a statute of limitations for killing nine people by locking them in a house and burning them to death? "Crimes against humanity" have no statute of limitations according to the Constitution. If torture and massacre are subject to the statute of limitations, what is left to commit "crimes against humanity"?
The new regime is taking these measures to prevent another "Vartinis" case, ensuring that no one can challenge the truth dictated by official statements. Abdurrahman Gok, Sedat Yilmaz, and Dicle Muftuoglu have already been arrested.
Tolga Sardan concludes that the rise of bribery and favoritism in the judiciary directly results from innovation and the information regime. All state institutions, including MİT, should be concerned about, report on, and work to rectify this situation. If you argue that politics, not bribery, is the essential matter, if you propose to keep Kisanak and Demirtas and include Huda Kaya, if you maintain we must restrict MPs' freedom despite the Constitutional Court's ruling, then simply arresting Tolga Sardan is insufficient; we should apprehend all individuals involved.