A law of difficulties… - ALI BAYRAMOĞLU

A law of difficulties…

We have been presented with another invoice.

A bill is about to be passed into law expanding the authority of the police as a result of the Kobane events. It is sad to see that these new regulations will result in the reversal of changes to many laws that bestowed numerous individual and democratic rights. 

Based on this bill, it will be enough to have “reasonable doubt” instead of “strong doubt based on concrete evidence” to search the residence or workplace of suspects. 

For crimes pertaining to the disruption of constitutional order, “undercover investigators” can be assigned and “wiretaps can be carried out without being based on concrete evidence.”

Whatever the reality, there is no doubt that democracy will be dealt a blow with the implementation of notions, which see crime replaced with danger and evidence with doubt. These steps taken as security measures will restrict individual freedoms and give the state a disproportional amount of power to intervene.

This applies to Turkey in the same way that it applied to the United States and the United Kingdom as a result of measures enacted after Sept. 11, 2001… Citing similar examples does not justify any action. Anyway, results achieved via such measures are questionable and even had the opposite impact than intended. Just one example of such a situation is the undesired politicization in the Islamic world as a result of the Islamophobia generated by the wave of security measures following Sept. 11.  

The rate at which every move in the name of public order affects the political climate lays the groundwork for state domination over freedoms, systematic abuse of rights and the long term consequences that ensue as a result of that, while only allowing for a few fires to be put out.

The issue is not just putting out a fire. The disruption of the security-freedom balance clearly results, as proven by many experiences, in the reduction of political tools and space available to solve problems and those that allow society to choose a path. The disproportional granting of authority results in the usurping of authority and acting on personal whims, just like the many times this country was previously tested when it experienced the same thing, for example with the actions of the Fetullah Gülen-led community…

Regarding these laws to be, there seem to be two reasons for it. The first is to combat the “parallel structure,” and the second to fortify the state against incidents of violence.

There is no doubt that the parallel structure is one of the biggest problems facing Turkish democracy. We have been issuing continuous warnings about this since 2010. We have to put up with extraordinary measures like the law for the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which strains the limits of concepts like state of law and separation of powers, in order to confront coup plans by this structure, like its Dec. 17-25 attempt.

While putting up with this, we do state that this authoritarian pressure will be problematic and there is a need to develop a democratic action plan to tackle the Gülen-led community.

These troublesome policies are leading us in the opposite direction today. Steps need to be taken to shift from these extraordinary measures to regular and permanent ones. If the opportunities to conduct wiretaps -- which hurt the ruling party a while back and we saw steps taken to limit their use -- are now used by the ruling party; it will mean an arbitrary use of legal regulations and the price for this authoritarian pressure will be a high one.

A cleanup should be clean and legal. We said this during the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) trials and will say it again, even if it is someone else on the podium this time. 

It is clear that the second reason for these measures i.e. the Kurdish issue is linked to street movements. It is a serious problem in itself if such restrictive measures are implemented in the Turkish political system because of the Kobane incidents and urban protests.

The mindset behind these provisions that have been put forward is one that prioritizes the use of public order tools against societal events. These regulations, regardless of the intentions of those that drew them up, apart from enabling intervention during conflagrations, will lay the groundwork for a system of supervisory politics and the systematic narrowing of the Kurdish political space.

Whereas what is required for the Kurdish problem today, is not limiting the space but the landscaping of that space, in other words, politics. Isn’t the government aware that these measures will serve no function if the populace and security forces confront one another?   

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