4.5 Million Dollars in a Shoe Box!

by Tarık Günersel    /  January 17, 2014  / No comments

As more fragments of news about a Turkish corruption scandal are released, journalists are fired, fingers are pointed, and even the upper echelons of power aren’t safe. Tarik Günersel presents notes on the situation.

Take your shoe box and leave!

'AKP's coffin is made of a shoe box': Protest against corruption in Turkey. Photo: Courtesy of Tarik Günersel.

“The judiciary is no longer independent in Turkey. Article 138 of the constitution has died!” exclaimed Cemil Çiçek, Head of Turkish Parliament. It may surprise you to learn, however, that he is not a member of the opposition. He is from Erdogan’s AK Party.

  1. Wor(l)ds in Danger, a<br />
column by Tarik Günersel
  2. Life is words in action, literature is action in words.
  3. Humans are about to destroy their spaceship Earth. Some of them are aware of this and they try to change the course of events. Will they succeed? Will more humans be alarmed and do something?
  4. Literature is vital and translators are messengers of world peace.
  5. Though I shall focus on the literary scene in Turkey and its problems regarding freedom of expression, I shall not omit the other parts of our planet. Today local is global and vice versa.
  6. Tarik Günersel
  7. Tarık Günersel is a poet, playwright, aphorist, librettist and short story writer. He is the president of PEN Turkey and an ex-member of the PEN International Board. He studied English Literature at Istanbul University. A self-exile after the military coup in 1980, he spent four years in Saudi Arabia with his wife Füsun and their daughter Barış, teaching English. A dramaturg at Istanbul City Theater since 1991, he has acted on stage and screen and directed some of his plays. He proposed World Poetry Day in 1997 which was accepted by PEN International and declared by UNESCO as the 21st of March. His translations into Turkish include works by Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Arthur Miller. His works include The Nightmare of a Labyrinth (mosaic of poems and stories), and How’s your slavery goin’? His Oluşmak (To Become), a “life guide for myself,” includes ideas from world wisdom of the past four millennia. He has recently initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the support of several intellectuals from various parts of the planet.

Erdoğan Bayraktar, Ex-Minister of Environment and Urbanization, has resigned from Parliament. He then called upon PM Erdogan to resign as well.

The Minister of the Interior, Muammer Güler, whose son Barış Güler is one of three politicians’ sons who have been detained for corruption, kept silent for six days before announcing his resignation. Six whole days!

Ex-Minister of Culture Ertuğrul Günay has also resigned from the AK Party. He says he had wrongfully hoped that an Islamic democracy was possible.

One of Erdogan’s ministers said that the Gülen movement’s complot was the reason that so many generals and other high-ranking army officers are currently in prison. In fact, the widespread impression is that both the Ergenekon and Balyoz cases were based on falsified and made-up evidence.

Metin Feyzioğlu, head of the lawyers association, argues that a fair re-trial is necessary. Erdogan has come to accept that view.

December 17 Crackdown Against Corruption

Having been accused of corruption, the sons of three AK Party cabinet ministers were arrested in December, 2013.

In the same week the head of Halkbank, a state-owned bank, was caught with 4.5 M dollars in shoe boxes at his home.

Erdoğan says that it was a “mistake” to keep 4.5 million dollars in shoe-boxes at home. Merely a mistake!


Video: OccupyTurkey via YouTube.

So protesters have begun to brandish empty shoe boxes.

Erdogan claimed that he had been unaware of the corruption. But now it has come to light that the National Intelligence Organization informed him of the situation eight months before the December crackdown.

Even PM Erdogan’s young son Bilal Erdoğan, whose enormous wealth was accumulated in a short period of time and needs explaining, was ordered to (or “invited” to) present himself to the DA by January 2. He refused to show up and “disappeared” for a few weeks until he was seen visiting a cemetery with his father.

Now Bilal Erdogan and the 45 others whose arrests were demanded have been made comfortable. The government has intervened and removed several DAs involved in the case from office. In doing so, they’ve secured the untouchability of these suspects. Minister Bozdağ then announced that there had never been a demand for the arrest of Bilal Erdoğan in relation to corruption, but people do not believe him. The PM’s son and 45 other people have now been invited to give their statements to the new DA.

Furthermore, the TV stations that mentioned the shoe boxes have been punished: They will have to pay large sums of money for covering the news!

PM Erdogan has accused the December 17 operation of being a coup against the government, but most people think that the government is simply trying to cover up the corruption.

A Mysterious Truck

At the beginning of this year a truck was stopped in Hatay by order of the DA just before it entered Syria.

The police and soldiers wanted to see what was in the back.

Suddenly, a group of Special Forces Unit commandos appeared and the border authorities were not permitted to do their legal duty.

One soldier said that he had seen weapons in the truck. Quickly, the police officers involved were sent to different parts of the country. The DA protested against the government and opened a lawsuit against the state. The government declared the contents of the truck a state secret. They only added that the vehicle contained “humanitarian aid” for Turkmens in Syria. The Turkmens soon declared that no such aid was on the agenda.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the main opposition party, asked: “How can humanitarian aid be a state secret?”

A great number of people are convinced that weapons were secretly being carried to forces in Syria, who were attacking the government.

And now, where is that truck? “Disappeared!”

Ömer Şişman, the Adana City Attorney who had a warrant to search the truck, but was not allowed, has been relocated to another city.

AK Party’s Civillian Coup D’etat

Professor Mehmet Altan, the liberal economist who thought Erdoğan’s AK Party would help Turkey democratize, is among the many columnists who recently lost their jobs because of their critical stance against the government.

Now Altan condemns the AK Party government and says that ever since December 17 the government has lost its legitimacy. Erdoğan’s AK Party government has staged a civilian coup d’Etat.

Erdogan Accuses the Gülen Movement

Erdoğan has accused Fethullah Gülen and his movement for secretly organizing an organization parallel to the state.

A serious clash is taking place between Erdogan’s AK Party and the Gülen Movement.

Neither of Two Evils

Neither Erdoğan’s AK Party nor Fethullah Gülen’s movement are acceptable leaders for a secular democracy.

Gülen’s strategy is “slowly but surely.” His movement receives and spends a lot of money to incorporate his version of an Islamic regime, not only in Turkey, but eventually throughout the world.

If his movement is as innocent as he and his followers claim, then why has it been
important for them to take control of the country’s judiciary and police?

In Turkey, in terms of democratization, Erdogan is a disaster and Gülen is a threat.

About the Author

Tarık Günersel is a poet, playwright, aphorist, librettist and short story writer. He is the president of PEN Turkey and an ex-member of the PEN International Board. He studied English Literature at Istanbul University. A self-exile after the military coup in 1980, he spent four years in Saudi Arabia with his wife Füsun and their daughter Barış, teaching English. A dramaturg at Istanbul City Theater since 1991, he has acted on stage and screen and directed some of his plays. He proposed World Poetry Day in 1997 which was accepted by PEN International and declared by UNESCO as the 21st of March. His translations into Turkish include works by Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Arthur Miller. His works include The Nightmare of a Labyrinth (mosaic of poems and stories), and How’s your slavery goin’? His Oluşmak (To Become), a “life guide for myself,” includes ideas from world wisdom of the past four millennia. He has recently initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the support of several intellectuals from various parts of the planet.

View all articles by Tarık Günersel

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