Perhaps against my better judgement, I’ve come back for another helping of the extraordinary fiasco that is the Sledgehammer case.
“It’s sad that we now have a media environment in which no one wants to touch this stuff,” says Ms. Aydintasbas. “I don’t want to touch it anymore, because who knows that I won’t be included in the next roundup?”
She also hit the nail on the head, in my opinion, when she said:
“This is not about whether you’re pro-military or antimilitary, it’s about the rule of law. Do we want to live in a country where political opponents are eliminated by trials that are unconvincing?”
She gave an illuminating analysis, which did not make its way into the story, of how to understand the power shift from military to civilian authority that Turkey has been undergoing over recent years, describing it as a ‘slow motion revolution’.
Many commentators describe it instead as an inevitable, though fitful, march towards European-style democracy.
But I like Aydintasbas’ ‘revolution’ comparison better, because it shows up the risks of the process. As we all know, revolutions often start out well, and end badly.
It may well be, as some people argue, that the extraordinary economic progress Turkey has made over recent years has strengthened and deepened civil society enough to secure a bright future.
However it may also be the case that the now-finished power struggle between the AKP and the military has merely opened a temporary window of opportunity for civil society to assert itself.
Either way, Turkey’s civil society is ill-served by turning a blind eye to the massive dysfunctionality that has long made Turkey’s courts and police a crude weapon of the establishment with which to bludgeon supposed enemies of the state.