Silivri Concentration Camp 72 Kilometers West of Istanbul on the Dark Side of the Moon Turkey 18 August 2010
MONKEYS IN WONDERLAND
Silivri is sunflower country, vast undulating sun-filled land that rolls down to the Marmara Sea about 72 kilometers west of Istanbul. Silivri Prison squats therein on spoiled high ground 72 million light-years beyond the rule of law. Here, in the best of fascist traditions, the so-called Ergenekon coup case is being tried in a converted gymnasium. Think Stalin. Think Hitler. Think Pinochet. Think Turkey.
The charges are vague. The proof is a hodge-podge of illegal wiretaps, secret witnesses (think Spanish Inquisition), prosecutorial leaks to pro-government newspapers, planted and otherwise tainted evidence illegally obtained. Concern about the provenance of such evidence is ignored by the court. The dossiers against the accused—journalists, labor leaders, lawyers, writers, retired military officers, all defenders of the republic established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk—number in the hundreds, the pages therein in the hundreds of thousands. Think Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. The defendants on trial still do not know the specific charges against them. Some have been incarcerated for more than two years. There is no notion of habeas corpus. The case reads as if assembled by an infinite number of monkeys banging away on computers while juggling scissors and paste pots. The chief prosecutor, allegedly a lawyer, has the appropriate last name of Öz.
When I attended the session on 13 August the chief prosecutor was somewhere on the yellow brick road and thus absent, as were all his assistants. So the three judges interrogated the accused. This in itself is incredible. These are the same judges that are supposed to render a verdict of guilt or innocence. How can they be impartial if they are also helping the prosecutor make the case? How can they remain open-minded and just if they are emotionally involved in the prosecution? This is wildly prejudicial and trashes any notion regarding the presumption of innocence. More importantly, by directly interrogating the defendants, the judges have already accepted the validity of the evidence. Defense counsels were challenging the legality of the evidence but to no avail. The judges had already de facto accepted it. To whom should evidentiary appeals be made? Zeus? Telephone numbers and snippets of alleged conversation were read into the record. Do you know this man? No? Do you remember this telephone number? No. Amazingly, a listing of the prescription medications taken by an army general not even charged appeared in the dossier. What a fiasco! No corroborating evidence or witnesses were called. The session was just one long boring rendition of irrelevancies, immaterialities, and hearsay. On droned the three judges, See-No-Legal, Hear-No-Legal, Speak-No-Legal. An embarrassing travesty. Think Emile Zola’s J’Accuse.
In Chile, Pinochet executed all opposed to his regime in the football stadium in Santiago. In Turkey, a slower political genocide is unfolding, this one in a prison exercise hall. The victims? The heirs of the Turkish secular republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The Turkish army, the supposed defender of Atatürk’s masterpiece has been neutered. It quietly licks its wounds and feathers its nest in incompetent solitude.
Yes, a political genocide of epic dimension is raging throughout the land. It reeks of injustice. But who cares? It is aided and abetted by the west. But who cares? We know where the traitors are. But where are the patriots? It’s the most disgusting of monkey business. Anyone care for a banana?