On the day another child, this time a 10-year old boy, shot on the head by a tear gas canister is fighting for his life, any question other than “how to stop impunity” is somewhat an academic one.
The life-threatening injury suffered by Mehmet Ezer in the south eastern town of Silvan comes only 13 days after the funeral of the 15 year-old Berkin Elvan that was killed by a tear gas capsule in Istanbul. So far, no one has been prosecuted for Berkin Elvan’s death. It looks unlikely that those responsible for Mehmet Ezer’s injuries would have to be accountable for their actions, either.
The use of excessive police violence during the protests and the firing of teargas directly at protestors are just two examples in today’s Turkey of violating the international legal standards.
Events of the past few months have presented us with many other examples of lawlessness and human rights abuses. The constant erosion of fundamental freedoms is rapidly dragging Turkey down a dictatorial path.
Yet, far too many of us seem content to watch the ongoing struggle between the government and its rival, the Fethullah Gulen community, hoping they will finish each other off. We speculate about the nature of the killer-blow, likely to come from the Islamist, one-time ally -turned opponent s of the government, without giving much thought to the stains on the hand that would deliver it.
Our enemy’s enemy becomes our unquestioned friend. We expect the change to roll in on the wheels of inevitability. Yet, knowing what you want is not the same as understanding what you could end up with.
The Turkish society, by and large, does not seem to be concerned about the downhill spiral of democracy and erosion of liberties. The strong evidence of corruption and mismanagement do not seem to worry a significant number of Turkish voters.
When the power of the government’s propaganda apparatus is so strong and the civic participation is seriously in decline, the responsibilities of the intellectuals become even greater.
A brighter future for Turkey will not arrive through a patient wait for deliverance with further scandalous evidence against a corrupt government.
Without an organised and determined effort and an uphill struggle by democratic actors, there will not be light at the end of the tunnel; only freight train to crush the remaining liberties.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Yesterday’s criminals do not all of a sudden become today’s heroes.
Only those with clean hands can pull the country out of this pitch black, evil smelling pool it has been pushed into.
This post is also available in: Turkish