How could government yes-men do nothing when the prime minister of a country launches a witch hunt? Naturally, yes-men and low-caliber meddlers sprang up after the prime minister launched the witch hunt.
Moreover, some of these yes-men and meddlers are presenting themselves as journalists and politicians. In such times, some people voice baseless accusations about their rivals in order to eliminate them. The only thing that is obvious is that those who unconditionally obey, fawn before and flatter the powerful can label anyone a “witch” and “hunt” innocent people to earn favor. The result? In fact, the result of this action is obvious, because the results of witch hunts have never changed throughout history. Unfounded accusations and lies hurled at the outermost circle of society gradually close in on the innermost circle, and the chaotic environment engendered by the witch hunt deeply wounds the collective conscience.
A website that militantly defends the government targeted İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş last week. They are hurling threats at Topbaş. Were you surprised? I can hear you say, “Kadir Topbaş doesn’t deserve this.” Actually, there is nothing surprising here. The tragic end of the witch hunt is always the same; even the most loyal are labeled witches. The witch hunt that was recently launched in Turkey has not yet entered the final stage, but there are hundreds of people who have already been subjected to a certain kind of oppression. Now, that infamous website is chiding Topbaş and asking him to make a choice between his son-in-law and his cause. They claim that Topbaş’s son-in-law was close to Fetullah Gülen Hocaefendi and the Hizmet movement. Even if he were close to Mr. Gülen and the Hizmet movement, wouldn’t someone ask: “Who are you to force the mayor to choose between his son-in-law and his cause? Who is the owner of this website that consistently blackmails and threatens people?” He is a former employee of OdaTV, which has been accused of acting as a media outlet to propagate the cause of an organization that attempted to forcibly overthrow the government. He is currently supporting the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), and moreover, it has been claimed that he is connected to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law. So, wouldn’t those who try to label Topbaş through his son-in-law likewise label the other by his children?
In a country whose prime minister launched a witch hunt in his speeches in election rallies, many malicious people will thrive. Topbaş is neither the first nor will be the last victim of this state of madness. If you just Google, you can see that lots of people have been labeled, profiled and accused of being a member of “the parallel structure” and fired or removed from their post over the last few months. Moreover, a journalist who had been labeled as a member of the Hizmet movement by a pro-government colleague has been backed by another pro-government journalist. So, what are the criteria? Profiling, sander, lies.
An ignorant person who deems himself a hunter does not differentiate between targets. This is why neither ministers nor bureaucrats have been saved from this witch hunt. Even party executives have had their share of this slander. This madness damages the state in two ways: First, innocent people are being victimized, removed from their posts. Second, people have felt the need to explain themselves because of these unfounded accusations that do not respect any humanitarian values. This state of madness introduces hypocrisy and pretense into Turkish politics and bureaucracy. It has become a trend to make statements against the Hizmet movement in order to get a promotion. Of course, when the people do no care about the hereafter, they lose their sense of fairness and their conscience.
Still, we shouldn’t be surprised, because in no other country in the world can a leader publicly launch a witch hunt.
If he can recklessly utter such a sentence, he either does not know anything about historical and political reality or the principle of rule of law has been shelved.
Here, it is relevant to point out the following: I want to remind you of the most striking example of this tragic history, Salem, which attracts many tourists on the occasion of Halloween and is famous for its witch trials, a series of hearings and prosecutions against people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts. The trials resulted in the executions of 20 people.
Before the witch trials began, rumors about witchcraft and stories of enchantment had spread around the town. It was claimed that there were some people who were secretly practicing witchcraft. When attacks of hysteria suffered by two little girls (Abigail Williams and Betty Parris) were added to these rumors and stories, moldy tales of the Dark Ages spread to the streets of Salem. The idea that the people of the town were being deluded by Satan because of the witches in the town became popular. The children who were at the center of these claims were aged 9 and 11. This state of madness left only two options to the people of the town: Either these children or the people denounced by these children were witches. On the children’s testimony, people were accused and arrested for allegedly practicing witchcraft. First, an old woman who was mentally ill was arrested, and townspeople were relieved to have found the victim they were looking for. However, those who tried to smoke Satan out had already been deluded by him, and the people became convinced that there were lots of witches in their town.
The children’s hysteria continued; they screamed and uttered new names. The witch hunt had spread and gone beyond the town’s borders. It was impossible to figure out if suspects brought from the other towns were witches or not, but they found a quick solution this: the touch test. The children used to touch the accused person and sense if they were a witch or not. Each report of witchcraft was investigated and all accusations and libel were considered evidence. Everything was out of control, so that the daughter of Sarah Good — who was one of the first three women to be accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials — who was only 4 at the time, was forced to testify against her mother. Her testimony not only resulted in her mother’s execution, but Sarah’s daughter was eventually jailed for witchcraft herself. The state of madness became so widespread that everybody, including religious officials, merchants and ordinary people, became potential suspects.
At the end of 1692, the prisons of the towns weren’t big enough to hold the accused witches. The son of a former governor had also been accused of witchcraft, and even two dogs were among the victims of this witch hunt. The Massachusetts judiciary was involved in the trials; one of the judges appointed by the colony of Massachusetts found that the children were not credible witnesses. He stated that no one could be imprisoned or executed based on unfounded accusations. What happened in the end? The judge had to step down from the court and was accused of witchcraft. Finally, the wife of the governor of Massachusetts was accused of witchcraft. This was the point where the witch hunt ended, because the gravity of the state of madness became visible to everybody.
We have repeated that if you label a community “parallel,” then other communities — or even your own family — will face the same accusation one day. If you launch a witch hunt, then you will eventually join the victims of this state of madness. Your children and wife will face the same accusations. It would be best to leave this medieval rubbish behind us, and ensure social unification by protecting the freedoms provided by a democratic state governed by the rule of law.
It has been 6 months; please admit reality
It has been nearly six months since December 2013, when the government started to accuse the Hizmet movement of forming a “parallel state.”
Several claims and accusations have been voiced, and the Hizmet movement has been described as a gang and a “parallel structure,” Are these accusations based on concrete evidence? No.
Fabricated news published by pro-government media outlets, unfounded accusations and slanderous claims that are legally null and void have been refuted one by one. However, the pro-government media does not care about this, since they do not care in the least about rights or the rule of law.
The result of the operation conducted by way of mobilizing all state facilities available during the last six months is this: The claim of a “parallel structure” is nothing but a lie, and the Hizmet movement has never been involved in any illegal actions. If there were any illegal actions on the part of the Hizmet movement, they would have been revealed already.
Now, the government says: “We are forming a basis. This is not a walk in the park.” In fact, this is a confession. It sounds like “We could not find anything against them, but we have been fabricating stories.”
After launching a witch hunt, a case based on fabricated instead of concrete evidence that has not been disclosed in the past six months will be legally null and void.
Because we all know which judges and prosecutors were appointed because of their connections to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), and that they have been asked to prepare an indictment on the “parallel structure.”