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Reactions to the tragic bombing

by İhsan Yilmaz, Today's Zaman on . Posted in Columns

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The reactions to the tragic bombing of the smugglers showed once again how deeply fragmented our society is.

The deep structure between the people and the state has also become evident again. Other than true believer nationalists and militarists, it seems that nobody believes the General Staff’s explanation of the event. It is so tragic that the country’s most important institution that safeguards life is not trusted by the people. That is why transparency and accountability are so precious; the lack thereof does not help -- either towards a checks and balances system and proper democracy, or the integrity and dignity of the state and its officials. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government that has been half-hearted and reluctant to work towards transparency and accountability, especially with regards to the military, should also look at the issue from this perspective and must not delay democratization, which would be given a major boost with a promised new constitution.

The AKP's response to the incident was far from satisfactory. In particular, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s targeting the mass media was not helpful. I also have an issue with the Taraf’s headline after the incident that prejudicially said “the state bombed its people” as we do not know for sure if this was the state’s purposeful act or a tragic accident, soldiers’ inability to perform a proper operation or a recent attempt by Ergenekon. However, Erdoğan must stop meddling with the media and criticizing it directly. Ergenekon supporters abroad have been running a successful campaign to show that Turkey has become a dangerous place for journalists. Even though there are still residual problems with regards to freedom of speech, it is a great lie to say that journalists who are critical of the government or the Gülen Movement have been imprisoned. There are many journalists and writers who keep criticizing the AKP or the Gülen Movement and nothing happens to them as should normally be the case. However, Erdoğan’s harsh reactions against the media have been manipulated by domestic and international lobbying groups that have been working against the government. This is also a secondary reason why the AKP should tackle the problems with regards to freedom of expression in the country.

The Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) reaction also showed how ethical standards of this party’s Kurdist politicians are no different from the ethical and moral values of the militarist and oligarchic White Turks and their naïve supporters. While the militarists have been turning a blind eye to the fact that the military did not warn these civilians before shooting, the White Kurds seem to be very happy that these smugglers were bombed by the fighter jets. The BDP politicians stated that the AKP knowingly ordered the killings of the non-terrorist smugglers. It seems that these Kurdists only have an ear for Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and have become numb and blind to the very harsh reactions against the AKP in the social media. They also don’t care that many sound people have been questioning whether the bombing was actually a carefully crafted trap to create trouble for the AKP, democratization, new constitution and the effective legal and legitimate fight with the PKK. The BDP politicians have a duty to explain convincingly how the AKP could benefit from bombing non-terrorist people -- half of whom were teenagers. Nevertheless, they will never do that as they are not after truth but out to blacken their opponents. Integrity and honesty are rarely sought-after virtues in Kemalistan.

Having said this, I must underline that uncovering what really happened and effectively punishing the culprits or wrongdoers are matters of integrity, honesty and honor for the government. We do not want to listen to demagogical harangues.