Ohannes Kılıçdağı

Muhalefet Şerhi

A routine that we shouldn't get accustomed

Yes, unfortunately, the bombing attacks can be referred as “routine” now. While I was writing this column, the perpetrators of the recent Ankara attack haven't been identified yet, but PKK was the most probable one. Regardless of the perpetrators' identities, ideas, motives, cause and purposes, this violent action that targeted civilians is sickening, unacceptable and it cannot be respected in any way. Presenting it as an act of justice by comparing it to what the state has been doing in Kurdish cities doesn't accord with neither the definition of justice nor humanity. Accumulation of mistakes doesn't mean rightness and doesn't mean justice at all. 

I don't hesitate to say such things about this attack. However, both in printed and visual media, there are people, with concealed or revealed identities, who try to exercise influence on words and minds; by implying that we cannot comment negatively on PKK, they want to know whether we condemn the attack or not. They don't want people to think too much and they want people to speak with the titles they assigned. No one, no group and no party is categorically outside of the scope of the criticism of this column, but we won't speak by order like inglorious Sebastians who do anything to please their masters. They want us to condemn the most recent Ankara attack and keep quiet and not to ask further questions. Months ago, many commentators warned that if the peace negotiations fail, a way more violent process would start; so, they don't want us to question how those disastrous scenarios are blatantly realized. Since, if we do that, the self-indulgence and thoughtlessness of the decision-makers would be revealed. They don't want us to question how over thousand people were killed from both sides and which decisions and choices caused those killings. Questioning these matters doesn't amount to justifying the recent attack. In a society, the definition of what is reasonable and just cannot be left to anyone alone, especially to the monopoly or consciences of the sovereigns and their supporters (not that they have any conscience). We should tirelessly give voice to and remind what is reasonable and just in the presence of all unjust and unlawful actions. We shouldn't be captivated by this situation by saying “What else did we expect?”

With the order of the President Erdoğan, a campaign for equating pen with guns has started. They want to charge the people who only write and speak with terrorism, because they don't like what those people write and say. However, according to Turkish Penal Code, praising crime and criminals is already considered as offense. Moreover, Article 7 of Turkish Anti-terror Law is as the following (and they want to try the signatory academics by this article): “Whoever makes propaganda of the terrorist organization shall be punished by imprisonment for one to five years." Why aren't these necessary? The first reply is related to the declaration of the academics: Because they know that they cannot punish those people because of such statements with the present articles of the Penal Code or Anti-terror Law and if they punish those people, the judgment would be reversed by some court (whether they care about it is another issue). The second reply is more general: These articles are about the methods of violence, but the sovereigns want to limit the content and essence of the ideas and expressions, so that they can canalize the thoughts as well. 

This is not an unprecedented case in Turkey or in the world. There are the history books; you can read them and see the results of such actions yourself. However, there is one thing that should be kept in mind: Once, Bush said, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists", but we are not obliged to choose between only from these two options. People's minds and conscience are always capable of finding a third option. And these third options pave the way to peace. Rigid dichotomies are the calls for war.