Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Sledgehammer: More Arrests and a Human Face For You to Consider

 

Today brings the news that another 28 soldiers will stand trial in the so-called Balyoz, or Sledgehammer case. Here is how it is being reported:

The first trial in the case had opened in December with 196 defendants, among them senior commanders. Most of them remain in prison. The investigation, the toughest challenge yet to the once-omnipotent Turkish military, has landed some 30 generals, or about a tenth of the total, in jail, humbling the army after its ouster of four governments in the past.

The case however has been marred by serious doubts over the authenticity of some implicating documents, fueling mistrust between the army and government. Prosecutors argue the coup plan was drawn up and discussed shortly after the Justice and Development Party, the offshoot of a banned Islamist movement, came to power in November 2002 amid fears it would undermine Turkey’s secular system.

I’m guessing the latest arrests are not being reported at all in the US–Americans are preoccupied with other things.

In these videos I’m speaking to Merve Karabulut, the daughter of a retired admiral who is now in prison. She’s well aware that her insistence that her father is innocent won’t carry much weight: Who would ever maintain that her own father is guilty, after all?

But she’s not really asking anyone to believe that her father is innocent. She’s asking people to pay attention to questions she and other relatives of the defendants have raised about this trial–the answers to which they can quickly and easily confirm independently. That’s the key point: People can look into these questions themselves. They don’t need to take her word for it. Journalists can attend the trial and so can anyone else. Here’s information about the bus to take and the schedule. Anyone can go and watch and see for him or herself what this trial looks like.

Here’s what she says about the length of time her father may legally be detained without being convicted of anything.

She’s saying it’s ten years. Is that coup-plotting propaganda or an independently confirmable fact? Easy: Independently confirmable fact.

Here’s what she’s saying about her father’s lifestyle:

Is that coup-plotting propaganda or an independently confirmable fact? Neither. It’s what you’d expect a daughter to say. It’s irrelevant, legally speaking.

Here’s what she’s saying about the anomalies in the evidence:

Is this coup-plotting propaganda or independently confirmable fact? Check for yourself: Is there any way a suspect could have been on the TCG Alanya in 2002? When did Burhan Durcan and Nevzat Hilmi Sertel die? Google their names. You don’t have to take her word for it. You’d pretty much have to argue that they faked their own deaths to explain that one away.

Here she is describing how she feels:

Is that coup-plotting propaganda or an independently confirmable fact? Neither. It’s irrelevant, legally speaking.

The families are petitioning for the trial to be broadcast on the radio or television. They think it speaks for itself.

Is that coup-plotting propaganda or just a reasonable idea?

I sometimes speak to people in Turkey who are perfectly willing to say that this trial stinks, but who still maintain that it’s a good thing, because it “humbles the army.”

But why exactly did they want the army humbled? Wasn’t it because they wanted an end to the era of coups, arbitrary detentions, and kangaroo courts?

I mean, unless you enjoy humbling the army for the fun of it, which would be kind of sick, given that these are men who have sacrificed their lives to keep your country safe, I sure don’t see that you’ve otherwise changed the situation much. New persecutors, new victims, but definitely the same old Turkey and the same old sad story.

My heart goes out to her. I have a Pop, too.

There are 10 comments.

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  1. Stuart Creque Member
    Stuart Creque Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Isn’t this simply the old totalitarian tactic of winning one election and then dismantling democratic institutions and safeguards so that there’s never any chance they will lose another election… ever? In Turkey, that would necessarily have to include de-fanging the military and disabling its traditional role of guarding secular rule.

    • #1
    • June 30, 2011, at 2:56 AM PDT
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  2. Jan-Michael Rives Inactive
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    I’m guessing the latest arrests are not being reported at all in the US–Americans are preoccupied with other things.

    Put in a tip to Drudge. Maybe he can spin it into something that actually gets eyeballs.

    • #2
    • June 30, 2011, at 3:08 AM PDT
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  3. John H. Member
    John H. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I only read the Anderson (SC) Independent-Mail, and then only when I visit my mom, and then only for its intensely local take on things, so: no, I sure haven’t seen this Stateside. Yes, degrading one’s own military for the spiteful thrill of it is contemptible, but having felt the awe of any number of Turkish males who were amazed askerlik wasn’t compulsory in the U.S., and also having casually followed daily news in Turkey, I can’t say I’m surprised that folks thereabouts would want to cut down the army in some quasi-legal way. Truth is, everywhere the Turkish military goes in Turkey, (1) people die miserably and (2) nothing gets settled. I am not convinced that the Turkish armed forces are a problem-creator but they sure aren’t a problem-solver.

    • #3
    • June 30, 2011, at 4:49 AM PDT
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  4. ndogru Inactive

    As a Turkish citizen and somebody who has been attending the trials in Silivri, I am ashamed what has been going on at the trials. It is a “sham trial”. Unfortunately, ordinary Turkish people and most of the prominant journalists do not even know what is going on and they are not interested in going to the trials. I live in the US and we contacted several organizations and newspapers about this trial without no success.

    • #4
    • June 30, 2011, at 6:59 AM PDT
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  5. John Marzan Inactive

    this will probably not get any attention from the press, claire. what gets america’s attention? people power. it works all the time.

    • #5
    • June 30, 2011, at 8:52 AM PDT
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  6. Dora Inactive

    Dear ndogru,

    Please keep on trying. Don’t give up contacting people or agencies or institutions. The only way out of this injustice is through getting recognition. You are at an advantage. You live in the US. We can only do so much in Turkey as press cannot raise their voices as loudly as they should. Unless we fight for our own rights, nobody will do it for us.

    • #6
    • June 30, 2011, at 9:30 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    ndogru: As a Turkish citizen and somebody who has been attending the trials in Silivri, I am ashamed what has been going on at the trials. It is a “sham trial”. Unfortunately, ordinary Turkish people and most of the prominant journalists do not even know what is going on and they are not interested in going to the trials. I live in the US and we contacted several organizations and newspapers about this trial without no success. · Jun 30 at 6:59am

    Do you mean you’ve been following news of the trials? (The word “attended” sounds as if you’ve been there in person, but you say you’re in the States … ) I’m curious because I’m wondering why so few Turkish citizens show up to watch. Boredom? Too busy?

    • #7
    • June 30, 2011, at 9:44 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    John H.: I only read the Anderson (SC) Independent-Mail, and then only when I visit my mom, and then only for its intensely local take on things, so: no, I sure haven’t seen this Stateside. Yes, degrading one’s own military for the spiteful thrill of it is contemptible, but having felt the awe of any number of Turkish males who were amazed askerlik wasn’t compulsory in the U.S., and also having casually followed daily news in Turkey, I can’t say I’m surprised that folks thereabouts would want to cut down the army in some quasi-legal way. Truth is, everywhere the Turkish military goes in Turkey, (1) people die miserably and (2) nothing gets settled. I am not convinced that the Turkish armed forces are a problem-creator but they sure aren’t a problem-solver. · Jun 29 at 4:49pm

    Can you point me to an example from history in which a show trial turned out to be a problem-solver?

    • #8
    • June 30, 2011, at 9:56 AM PDT
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  9. Dora Inactive

    If there are any journalists or just anyone interested on the case, please contact “Vardiya Bizde Platformu” on Twitter or Facebook, and they can be guided in terms of more details about the tiral and how they can come and watch the trials. The main thing is to make the trial visible to as many people as possible because seeing and hearing the arguments made there makes a huge difference and yet broadcasting the trials is not allowed at this point in time in Turkey so please make the effort to sign the petition on http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/free-political-prisoners-in-turkiye-turkey/ or if you live in Turkey, you can physically sign another petition asking the Ministry of Justice to let a national TV channel to bradcast the trials live on TV.”

    • #9
    • June 30, 2011, at 12:54 PM PDT
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  10. ndogru Inactive

    Ms. Berlinski,

    Yes, I live in the US, but I have flying to Istanbul to attend the trials in person. I am also very surprised why few Turkish people show up to watch. I think that most of them do not have any clue that these trials have been going on because of the very little coverage in the main media outlets. Most of the main media outlets are under intense pressure from the current potical party in power not to have any coverage about this trial. They are very afraid. Average Turkish people do not even listen to the news – They are busy watching soaps and entertainment news.

    • #10
    • July 2, 2011, at 1:05 AM PDT
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