The Ergenekon investigation, which had started as a promising legal case to strengthen the Turkish democracy, had went sour long ago. However, now it seems even worse. It turns out to be nothing but a politically-motivated witch-hunt against the democratic opposition. The Justice and Development Party, aka the AKP, continues to take revenge by making a tool of a legal case. First, army commanders, then journalists and now scholars... Here is the list of the people who were arrested yesterday: Prof. Erol Manisali, one of the most respected economists in Turkey Prof. Mehmet Haberal, the rector of Baskent University Prof. Osman Metin Ozturk, the rector of Giresun University Prof. Fatih Hilmioglu, the former rector of Inonu University Prof. Ferit Bernay, the former rector of Ondokuz Mayis University Prof. Mustafa Yurtkan, the former rector of Uludag University Prof. Ayse Yuksel, the former vice-rector of Yuzuncu Yil University To this short list, please add 33 people, including Prof. Cihan Demirci and two of his students. All the arrested professors were against headscarves in universities, angering the Islamist government. They were argueing that this practice would be against secularism. If girls can wear headscarves, what would we do if one day a group of male students try to enter the university with Bin-Laden-style clothes (and -as a matter of fact- opinions and actions)? You can debate on the subject, but only as long as you have two sides. After the arrests, one side is vanished. Those professors were just opposing the government in totally peaceful ways. Prof. Erol Manisali was my lecturer in Istanbul University. I just laugh when I hear about the accusation against him. Was he going to organize a bloody coup d'etat??? Haven't you ever read a book of Prof. Manisali? He never supports an anti-democratic action. He is just against imperialism and exploitation, that's all. He is the Turkish Noam Chomsky.
* * *And what would substitute for all these valued men and women, who are in prison now? The AKP has got an answer, which reminds me of the typical AKP bureaucrat, who had risen from the graveyards to the top position in the state orchestra. Here is the list of this week's appointments by the government for the Radio and Television Higher Council (RTUK), the media watchdog of the Turkish state. Adem Cobaner has become the accountant of the RTUK. Previously, he was the imam of the mosque in Ankara bus terminal. Now he will count more than 100 million dollars in the RTUK vault. Alaettin Kutlu is appointed as a senior manager. At first, he was a waiter (yes, a garcon) in the Manure Office. Then he had been appointed as a warden (yes, a nightman) for RTUK. Veysel Sengul was a typist in the State Planning Organization. Then he had become a low-level civil servant in RTUK. Now he is also a senior manager. Magically. Emir Ulucak and Osman Ardogan have named as the managing assistants for the Monitoring and Evaluation Council. Emir's only "quality" is about being the son of Riza Ulucak, who was a leading figure in Refah, the Islamist party which was banned in accordance with the ECHR decisions. And Ardogan's qualification? He was a low-level civil servant in the health department.
* * *The summary: Waste away all the internationally-renowned intellectuals because of their political opinions and replace them with your unqualified partisans... Justice and development? I call it an arrested development.