“Gökhan Güneş was kidnapped and tortured by those who call themselves ‘The Invisibles’. Many people who are, it is claimed, members of the Gulen movement have been kidnapped and their fate is still unknown. I have never felt this lonely for the last 30 years, even in the dark days of the 1990s’ Turkey… I also feel the future is so unpredictable.” writes Eren Keskin for Yeni Yaşam.
I have been involved in the human rights struggle for 30 years. All these years were tough and each period had its difficulties. For this reason, regardless of who is in power, we have always had to factor in the ‘state’ when analysing events.
We are a society divided into two parts: on one side we have the power and at the other side we have the opposition.
However, the mentality of both sides has been shaped by the same mentality of monopolist state ideology.
Two groups, the Kemalists and the conservatives, who do not want to face up to the crimes committed by the state, are in a a so-called ‘battle’. We are the ones who also have to struggle against their mentality, trying to open a space for ourselves.
However, as a matter of fact, these two groups who are constantly in conflict can also easily unite when some specific topics are brought to the table. For instance, the Armenian genocide, the Kurdish question , the Kurdistan question, the military forces of Turkey in Cyprus etc, can unite the two opposing sides in Turkey. They are no different from each other when it comes to these topics.
Today, the only difference from the past is a little more ‘visibility’ thanks to social media. In the past, the state was able to hide and cover up violations of human rights. The forced disappearances in custody, tortures, burning down the villages, violations of rights in prisons, violence against women… Only people who are specialised in these fields were aware of what was going on.
Today those violations of rights are not a secret and reach around the whole world through social media. But the interesting thing is that these violations continue despite being before the eyes of the world.
Turkey has signed many international agreements which are binding. However, the Turkish state does not implement any legal agreement it has signed today.
Torture is a prohibited way by Turkey’s own constitution (Article 92 of the Turkish Constitution) and by a vast number of international agreements, all of which Turkey is a signatory to.
Despite all this, Turkey’s Minister of Interior can easily say, ‘If you catch them, cut them into pieces or do whatever you want with them.” when referring to law enforcement forces joining the operations against the opposition parties and individuals.
Or, despite having signed the European Convention on Human Rights, the Turkish state will seemingly not implement the decision of the court regarding Selahattin Demirtaş.
Many politicians such as Osman Kavala, Ahmet Altan, or Selçuk Kozağaçlı are behind bars.
While also women are murdered every day in this country, the ones who are ruling the country can start a debate about the Istanbul Convention.
“Gökhan Güneş was kidnapped and tortured by those who call themselves ‘The Invisibles’. Many people who are, it is claimed, members of the Gulen movement have been kidnapped and their fate is still unknown. I have never felt this lonely for the last 30 years, even in the dark days of the 1990s’ Turkey… I also feel the future is so unpredictable.”
There is no law, but will we give up fighting? Never. Because we know that only those who resist can change the world.