National security: Right in the West, luxury in Turkey?

National security: Right in the West, luxury in Turkey?
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Melih Altınok

Turkey has vexed questions to tackle, including terrorism, the Syrian civil war just across its border, tense relations with Russia and migration. However, the main agenda topic in the country since last week is an acquittal decision issued by the Constitutional Court.

Turkey has vexed questions to tackle, including terrorism, the Syrian civil war just across its border, tense relations with Russia and migration. However, the main agenda topic in the country since last week is an acquittal decision issued by the Constitutional Court. 

The controversial aspect of the issue is that the court decided to free two journalists who had been jailed pending trial for three months on charges of espionage and disclosing confidential state documents. 

The majority of public reacted against this development since Turkish citizens, who have been deeply aggrieved by terrorist assaults lately, normally stand against countries such as Syria that provide logistical support to illegal groups' terrorist activities targeting civilians. These citizens consequently resented the court's decision as they think the state secrets that are claimed to have been exposed by the acquitted journalists were abused by the Damascus regime and terrorist groups in the region. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: "The Constitutional Court might issue such a decision. I keep silent on the decision of the Constitutional Court, but I do not have to abide by the decision. I neither respect nor abide by the decision it issued" 

Others are pleased with the acquittal decision. However, the main reason of their pleasure is the political message of the decision rather than concerns regarding freedom of expression. The acquitted journalists are among the most active advocates of the Republican People's Party (CHP), which represented the military and bureaucratic elite in the country. They think that the high court taught a lesson to the government with this decision. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan introduced the right to individual application to the Constitutional Court with the referendum that was held six years ago. But his remarks on the controversial case stimulated discussions. 

"The Constitutional Court might issue such a decision. I keep silent on the decision of the Constitutional Court, but I do not have to abide by the decision. I neither respect nor abide by the decision it issued," he said.

The significant aspects of the issue are that the court intervened before internal authorities were exhausted, did not examine the indictment while issuing this contradictory decision and bypassed legislation by performing the supervision itself. The subject turned into a race to harangue judicial respect.    

However, Erdoğan's attitude, whose duty of protecting the constitutional order is assigned by the Constitution, is not disrespectful. Conversely, his criticism underlines an act of the court that violates the separation of powers as set forth in the Constitution. His remarks were motivated to guide the Constitution. He stands against the court's move to position itself as a power above legislation.

The opposition now embraces the higher judicial body only to press upon the government, which is their political dissident. In addition, this body is the stronghold of the military tutelage regime that rendered Parliament inactive. It has so far contributed many decisions that cannot be tolerated by a democrat respectful of the state of law.

The opposition represented this scandalous attempt of the court, which turned Turkey into a graveyard of political parties with its decisions to close political parties it issued until recently, as an intervention by the judiciary. This is a disgraceful manipulation.

The opposition distorted the issue by concealing the evident fact that Erdoğan made his criticism not before the court issued the decision, but after it. So far, the distortions have not found serious, international resonance.

However, the opposition is not willing to give up easily. They search for international support by trying to have a new WikiLeaks-like case through the journalists in question who play politics with their profession as if they were the permanent journalists of a political party. 

Meanwhile, does anyone remember at which embassy Julian Assange is currently hiding in order not to return to his country?

I would also appreciate if you would answer the question of why the sensitivity to protect state secrets, which is regarded as a national security problem around the world, is considered a luxury when the Middle East, including Turkey, is in question.

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