Document and ‘survivability question’

It was during the Şemdinli case that people realized the strangeness of the current “two-headed judiciary,” leading to a serious weakening in their perception of “justice.”

After the Military Prosecutor's Office decided to intervene in the investigation into the “document” allegedly prepared by Senior Col. Dursun Çiçek, there was widespread worry that the dossier would not be handled “in the necessary way.” Hence, the ruling that there was “no need to hold a trial” did not take anyone by surprise.

But, there is no explanation as to why it was deemed unnecessary to examine the reason Çiçek altered his signature during his testimony. It was said that the colonel's signature during the testimony would not be examined because it would have no impact on the investigation. Is this a response that will satisfy the public? During the press conference yesterday, was the chief of general staff able to provide a sufficient answer to the question of why the “suspect” colonel used a different signature during his testimony?

After the military prosecutor carried out his own analyses to the extent his authority allowed and determined that there was no need to hold a trial, he transferred the dossier to the İstanbul Public Prosecutor's Office to be handled as necessary by civilian prosecutors. Perhaps despite all this “strangeness,” the result can be considered “normal” in light of the authority bestowed to the military by the current laws. But the military's only responsibility isn't to determine whether the document was prepared within the military.

While it is clear from the military prosecutor's investigation that the “document” was not prepared in the headquarters within the chain of command, the public is still uncertain about whether there was solidarity inside or outside the headquarters.

How can we not expect them to be?

We have a public that knows about the May 1997 document on the West Study Group (BÇG), the April 1998 memorandum, the January 2004 categorization effort and the September 2007 Lahika document. Each of these was a reflection of solidarity and formations within the headquarters. It is for this reason that you cannot dismiss this “document” as a mere “piece of paper.”

Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ must develop the military into a structure that is not in conflict with the “dynamics of social change.”

Hasan Bülent Kahraman from the Sabah daily wrote: “Regardless of what people say, Turkey has advanced the great change it started in 1923 on an economic basis since the 1950s and on a political and social basis since the 1990s and formed new syntheses. Today, there is both an economic and political struggle between the segments of society that have accepted the new formation and those who oppose it” (Sabah, June 24).

Gen. Başbuğ and the military officers at the headquarters must properly analyze this change, advancement and synthesis. It is sorrowful that a cadre that believes in the slogan “Knowledge is the real guide in life” refuses to face scientific facts, saying, “We don't want to confuse our minds.” Their power struggle with the civilian leaders in Ankara can be understood to a certain extent, but it cannot be allowed to jeopardize the future of generations to come. Ultimately, this is a matter of “survivability.”

What do I mean?

An anecdote Avni Özgürel wrote in the Radikal daily on June 24 is particularly eye-catching. Read about how the message of the second man in charge angered the first man in charge and what his zeal for the future led him to do. Is it a coincidence that the general who wrote the message is the same general who said, “We don't want to confuse our minds”?

In the end, its import is not whether the “document” is authentic or fake, but the mentality that serves as the basis for “documents, memorandums and lahikas.” The real question is: Are you ready to settle accounts with that mentality?

“Honor requires courage.”

History will remember both those who have the courage and those who don't.

 

Gürkan Zengin

zengingurkan@gmail.com

OPINION