Dec 17 underlines need for judicial reform

Published 09.01.2015 01:21

The most recent corruption debate in Turkey resembles an individual standing idly by as another buttons their shirt incorrectly and points it out only when they come to the final hole.

There was nothing more natural than the parliamentary investigation commission bringing an end to an odd venture. Everything that led to this point had been perfectly clear all along. Interestingly enough, it was those willing to sacrifice everything just to change the course of events that brought about this conclusion.

The first mistake was made on Dec, 17, 2013, and eventually led to the investigation's conclusion on Jan. 5, 2015. As such, those who complain about the parliamentary commission's decision must nonetheless admit that the end of the process was in line with its origins. After all, the investigation was nothing more than the manifestation of the complete failure of legal mechanisms and the judicial system in the hands of a handful of corrupt police officers and public prosecutors. As such, the affair represented the inevitable end of a neo-tutelary circle's infinite simplicity.

Briefly put, the corruption investigation had not started out as a legitimate effort to restore legal order or a quest for justice and, as such, it ended exactly as it began. If we were to completely ignore the Gülen Movement's involvement in the Dec. 17 operation, it would be possible to suggest that the episode had at least three turning points. The March 30 local elections represented a political confrontation with the allegations. On Oct. 12, the perpetrators of the attack suffered defeat in the election for the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). Finally, the parliamentary commission's decision marked the end of a failed coup attempt.

Objections to the commission's decision violating legal procedures represent, by far, the most interesting aspect of the entire affair. After all, the case files looked more like crime fiction than legal documents. It is important to recall that the Dec. 17 operation took place on the basis of police reports, which was particularly why the commission's decision brought the entire process back to square one.

How about those whose affairs were under investigation? The decision to gather and store information to use as ammunition to overthrow the government rather than chase criminals rendered the entire process meaningless. Had the Dec. 17 operation really been a legitimate judicial proceeding, the masses could not have interfered in their outcome during the local elections and the presidential race. An ill-fated coup attempt by police officers who unskillfully sought to step into the military guardianship regime's shoes, however, was rendered inconclusive by the nation. Those who responded to the outcome by suggesting that the opinion of the courts should matter rather than the citizens have little understanding of the people's wisdom.

Of course, everyone who has some grip on reality would agree that the court could rule in favor of any defendant or decide against them. The only thing that could possibly hurt this understanding would be the corruption of the justice system, which is exactly what happened on Dec. 17, 2013. The cost of this action, however, has extended beyond the operation itself.

Simply put, we find ourselves at a point where Turkey desperately needs to reform its entire judicial system and, simultaneously, find a way to ensure that criminals cannot abuse a bankrupt order. The easiest way to achieve these goals is to completely eradicate the influence of tutelary actors and subsequently turn over a new leaf by adopting a new constitution and rebuild the rule of law atop the debris of the country's nearly century-old guardianship regime.

It goes without saying that performing such a task will be difficult and messy. As long as we have confidence in the construction project, however, it will be possible to tolerate and overcome certain temporary challenges.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Disclaimer: All rights of the published column/article are reserved by Turkuvaz Media Group. The entire column/article cannot be used without special permission even if the source is shown.
However, quoted column/article can be partly used by providing an active link to the quoted news. Please click for details..