No, this refers not to Iskander Pale (1), writer who "meant to go to health resort", don’t do that, and you are not concerned at all about these noble people, they are of your kind of guys" ... “Identifying enemies” in the time of pandemic or “creating enemies” where searching is lost … Apparently, the agenda leads to this bystreet, yea, blind alley.

Finally, Turkey passed a Law “On Changes in Terms of Condemnation” that had for long been put into agenda and lobbied by junior partner of the authorities – Party of Nationalistic Movement (PNM). As a matter of fact, in the eyes of the public – the point is about the current Law ”On Amnesty” even despite that the government  invalidates it.

It ought to be noted that except for “state prisoners”, most prisoners were released or commuted sentences. No, discharge after more than 20-years imprisonment of the leader of the Turkish mafia Alaatdin Cakudji (2) from prison (as insisted upon by PNM leader Devlet Bahceli) caused no negative response as was the case with release of generals of the Ministry of National Security (MNS), heads of unofficial mafia.

It will suffice to mention that А. Cakudji with his high-profile scandals since 1993 has never been a functionary; however, the state commanded his services in some covert operations (for example, he is said to have liquidated one of the leaders of the terrorist organization ASALA), and his release was welcomed by some nationalistic circles. To all appearance, comparison with MNS generals proved to be inept, whereupon we offer our apologies …

Account has to be taken of the fact that the amnesty of this kind had last been announced in Turkey 20 years ago, after adoption of an appropriate law by the National Assembly. The current draft bill has long been discussed by Majlis with due regard for society’s desire. The sole difference between the two laws on amnesty lies in the fact that the current law does not apply to journalists.

One must bear in mind that Turkey kept on maintaining the lead as a country with journalists jailed. In spite of the fact that lawyers of journalists detected some aspects in favor of the accused and appealed to the court, their appeal was immediately dismissed. What’s up with that?

It must be acknowledged that at the height of coronavirus spreading worldwide the observers mouthed forecasts that leaders of some countries would take advantage of the situation to curb the democracy while others would try to increase their dictatorship. Have they become reality? Perhaps, a statement of the Turkish President shed light on the situation: «Hopefully, our country will, inshallah, get rid not only of coronavirus but political and media viruses as well”.

It is worth pointing out that the address of “political virus” is known: major opposition party and its leader. But does the Turkish society really want to get rid of the “virus of major opposition”? Suffice it to remind more than half of society made it clear at the elections that it was not the case.

But what about journalism and journalists? Here the situation is not quite good. Despite society’s efforts to support journalists (for instance, independent international rating agency noted that 300, 000 copies of newspaper “Sözcü” are sold a day), pro-governmental regulatory bodies (for example, High Council for Radio and Television) and courts squarely put journalists and dissenting mass media in prison.

 The fact that the amnesty kept away an editor-in-chief and a head of the newsroom of the largest Internet-portal with 1, 250, 000 attendances a day (there are other writers as well). Major news programs of TV-channel with its highest rating and three other channels were suspended which is rather worrisome contrary to Cetin Altan’s advice “Get over it”.  A question of raising concern is: “Isn’t Turkey distancing itself from democracy?”.

It is obvious that inroads into television are indicative of the retreat from democracy. Of interest is the fact that one of the aggrieved TV-channels is Haber Global assisted by Azerbaijani investments (presumably SOCAR investments). How to typify this – as something ironic, comic, tragic, tragicomic  situation? Why has the Azerbaijani-financed channel been punished? Is that Turkey’s distancing from democracy?

From democracy’ afterlife standpoint, it is a matter of paramount importance.


1. Iskander Papa, Turkish professor, expert in Diwan literature and author of bestsellers. Also, he ran column in the Turkish daily "Zaman”. In 1979, he graduated from a faculty of the Turkish language and literature of Istanbul University (Ed.).

2. Alaatdin Cakudji, one of the leaders of the Turkish organized crime. Former member of ultra-nationalistic organization “gray wolves” (Ed.).




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