The Panama Papers, which have been presented as the biggest leak in history, are 40 years of records of a law office that managed offshore accounts that the rich opened to avoid taxes. British Prime Minister David Cameron was one of the world leaders who were shocked by the Panama Papers.
The leak revealed that Cameron's father had an offshore account that he opened through this law office and managed to escape paying hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxes in this way. Cameron finally admitted that his father escaped some of his tax obligations by depositing money in that offshore account and that he owned shares in Panama until 2010. Cameron generated $57,700 through these transactions. Considering that he inherited $550,000 from his father, it would not be wrong to suggest that a significant portion of this inheritance was obtained thanks to the offshore accounts in Panama.
Given this background information, I would like to talk about a relevant, interesting development that took place at British parliament recently. As parliament was discussing Cameron's involvement, 84-year-old Dennis Skinner, a leading figure in the Labour Party who has been a member of parliament for 46 years, stood up. He referred to a past anecdote, saying that he could not receive a proper answer for a question that he previously asked about Cameron's wealth. He said: "Maybe dodgy Dave will answer it now," in the same manner as protestors addressed Cameron. Then, deputies began shouting.
After the parliamentary speaker ensured quietness, he wanted Skinner to swallow his words, saying that, on the contrary, he would not ask Cameron to answer his question. However, Skinner rejected eating his words, saying: "This man has done more to divide this nation than anybody else, he's looked after his own pockets. I still refer to him as dodgy Dave," and sat down. The parliamentary speaker then ordered Skinner to leave parliament that day in accordance with law no. 43. Skinner stood up and had to leave.
Even though it is peculiar to British parliament, this situation, which is an overt violation of the freedom of expression as Western norms stipulate, hardly astonished anyone. Quite the contrary, it was said that being British was something like this and British parliament's traditions required this. In other words, when it comes to one of the leading countries in the West, the violation of the freedom of expression was found normal as a principle that can be sacrificed to manners and customs.
I do not think what Skinner did falls within the scope of the freedom of expression either inside or outside of parliament. For me, the true civilized sphere is where individuals can live without insulting each other. Meanwhile, Western countries have declared a comedian to be a champion of free speech, although he hurled even worse insults at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Given this picture of the Western world, the significance of the tolerance shown toward British parliament's traditions becomes clearer.Given this picture of the Western world, the significance of the tolerance shown toward British parliament's traditions becomes clearer.
The EU still considers itself to be an imperial center and all others to its east to be a peripheral crowd of people who must be disciplined with curses if necessary. Turkey will continue to fight this patronizing and hypocritical approach by upholding civil communication. As the EU insists on this attitude through Erdoğan, Erdoğan will further consolidate his existing phenomenon by resisting it.