Thursday, January 29, 2009

Young Civilians Protest HSYK Appointments


Protesting in front of the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court yesterday, the Young Civilians decried the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges (HSYK) on Tuesday that three prosecutors had been appointed to İstanbul. It is thought that HSYK's appointments are an attempt to impede the Ergenekon investigation.

From a statement issued by the Young Civilians by way of TDZ:
“Forty prosecutors into the Ergenekon case will not suffice, let there be 367,” the statement read, poking fun at former Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Sabih Kanadoğlu, who previously stated that at least 40 prosecutors should be appointed to the case. Kanadoğlu nullified the election of Abdullah Gül as president in 2007, prompting the Constitutional Court to enforce a quorum of two-thirds -- 367 deputies of a total of 500 -- of Parliament for the first two rounds of voting.

“Kanadoğlu wanted 40 prosecutors in the Ergenekon case; and the number of Ergenekon prosecutors has started to increase. Uncle Sabih! Why don’t you just take your hand out of our lives and leave us alone? It is apparent that Kanadoğlu will not settle for 40 prosecutors, and even 367 prosecutors will not be enough for him. The latest trick of those who have come to realize that they will no longer be able to play down the Ergenekon case with the recent discovery of Ergenekon ammunition aims to water down its prosecutors now,” the statement continued.

The Young Civilians also stated that Turkish society was fully aware of what the appointment of new prosecutors into Ergenekon would mean. “We think there is one point they have disregarded. ... We are not the idiots that you suppose us to be. Having become bitter from our experiences in the past, we will not allow you to cover up the Ergenekon case. Beware!” they said.

2 comments:

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Too little too late. The time to protest on civil libertarian grounds would have been about a year ago when it became clear that long pre-trial detentions were becoming the rule for this case pesumably because the prosecutors were unable to put together the indictments fast enough. Now, given that very reasonable pretext, but through unclear mechanisms, additional prosecutors are added and that (perhaps with reason) is found fishy and worthy of protest.

There's another potential danger brewing. After having been presented with a huge pile of wiretap transcripts for a car-theft case, some criminal court judge decided that that broad an application of wire tapping powers cannot possibly be constitutional and went to the constitutional court. The implication of striking down those laws for the Ergenekon case should be obvious. Here's a link.

Perhaps the lesson is that there cannot be any questions about due process in a contentious and critical case like this one. If one makes the assumption that, just this once, due to special circumstances, the 'good' side can be cut some slack, one runs the risk of losing the moral high ground.

It can, of course, be argued that if the powers that be wanted to derail this case, they would have found a way. Be that as it may, why make it easy for them to appear on the side of rule of law and due process?

Anyway, I know you know all this and that it is rather standard fare in the US. The point is that people who know all this also exist here but they were stifled by the supposedly liberal columnists telling people that whoever gets fussy about the procedures and long detentions would be on the terrorists' side. (That language should be familiar too, unfortunately.)

Oh well, we'll see. At least our young civilians might learn a thing or two about which side they should take in general. That would be the third side: the one that says both the letter and -- perhaps a liberal interpretation of -- the spirit of the law ought to be followed, and that a swift application of due process ought not be denied to anyone. If this is not done, then not only will the weak will get treated unjustly but also the powerful will be able to wiggle their way out.

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