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As we count the days.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- I know days are not supposed to be counted; they are here for you to live gladly by sharing human values with people around you and your beloved ones.

But you can hardly experience the passage of time as such when everyone you see counts the days one by one, anxiously praying for the days they are expecting to come soon. You find yourselves drawn to that ambiguous wait along with those who wait for the days when they will be free of the days they are counting with grief. Moreover, you either postpone your life or settle for acting as if you are living.

Waiting or counting the days does not necessarily have unwanted associations. For instance, doesn't nature wait for months, counting the days in order to be awoken to the spring with exhilaration? Don't insects, bees and butterflies wait for the coming of spring with colorful flowers? And people count the days to relive the enthusiastic joy of cool days with warm breezes even though they know their numbered days are decreasing, don't they? Lovers count the days impatiently to meet again, don't they? Working people wait for the end of the working month and students for the weekend?

However, not all cases of day counting are like these. Sometimes you count the days waiting for something predestined for you to happen, albeit with some ambiguity. In such cases, it is unbearable to count the days. The worst of all waits are those during which you count the days for the fate that you know will be fulfilled at some time in the future. It is worse than waiting for some unknown fate. Indeed, death comes unexpectedly. Although you know you are moving closer to it with every step you take, its moment is a secret to us. Thanks to this divine blessing, death becomes no longer a concern beyond endurance.

Currently, millions of people are postponing their lives because of the Justice and Development Party (AKP)/[President Recep Tayyip] Erdoy-an regime, which grows more and more despotic as it refuses to account for its countless blunders and crimes that are attributable to their political ambitions. Some count the days enthusiastically with great hope and longing for the good days when they will be free from this nightmare haunting the country. Others, like me, count the days to their possible imprisonment based on another arbitrary decision as they go through endless investigations, lawsuits, detentions and arrests on ridiculous grounds.

At the behest of a mentality that has so far breached all provisions of the Constitution and commits the crime of not obeying the decisions of the Constitutional Court, which is under their control, certain judicial authorities are conducting a full-fledged witch hunt in Turkey. Anyone who comes to the fore with critical views against the regime and a bold stance against corrupt practices, injustice, despotism, arbitrariness and unlawfulness now faces legal action. Moreover, some of them undergo dozens of investigations and lawsuits. Day in, day out, we hear reports of how a student in this or her early teens, a hopeful youth, a writer or journalist who carries the torch for the society, faces investigation, lawsuit or arrest.

The darkness of tyranny and oppression haunting the country is getting ever darker. The AKP/Erdoy-an regime is confiscating the critical media groups and sinking them within months. TV channels are facing blackouts. There are plans in the making to take social networking sites like Twitter under control. The AKP/Erdoy-an regime is terrorizing anyone who protests the greedy pro-government businessmen's efforts to plunder the environment under state protection. In the Southeast, the cities are under siege for months as buildings are demolished under heavy fire. Cases of theft, corruption, bribery, plunder, lies, slander and unlawfulness are skyrocketing.

If you happen to voice any criticism about these scandalous developments, you find yourselves taken into custody on the spurious grounds of insulting the president or public officials. Investigations or lawsuits are launched one after another with ensuing detentions, and if you insist on speaking aloud your critical views, then it is time for you to start counting the days.

Despite their busy agenda, President Erdoy-an, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoy-lu and Cabinet ministers take time out to deal with any member of the media, journalist, intellectual or academic who is critical of the regime -- and you can be assured that they will ensure that those outspoken voices end up in prison. Moreover, you no longer worry about whether, but when you will be jailed. Then, with heavy thoughts, you start to wait for your fate to be fulfilled regarding one of the lawsuits against you.

According to statistics given by Justice Minister Bekir Bozday-, who does a good job in eliminating the last remnants of the rule of law, 1,845 investigations have been launched on charges of "insulting" President Erdoy-an. If you take into consideration the other versions of this nonsensical crime, such as "insulting the prime minister," "insulting a minister," "insulting a governor," and "insulting a bureaucrat," you can get a pretty good picture of the legal actions threatening thousands of people with critical views.

Moreover, there is Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which defines the crime of "insulting the Turkish nation," an offense that haunted the lives of many intellectuals and scholars with arbitrary interpretations and applications in the 1990s and 2000s. It seems that the despotic AKP/Erdoy-an regime is aware of the strangeness of treating every remarkable criticism within the scope of "insults" and it has revived the TCK's 301st article. In the past, I had been able to avoid any legal action under this article, but I have recently had my share from this article's relentless grip. Based on the complaint filed about me by Prime Minister Davutoy-lu, the prosecutor launched a lawsuit against me requesting the court to sentence me to prison in connection with my Twitter posts in 2015. This time, the charge was my "insulting the Turkish nation." Thus, it became another item in my collection of lawsuits, and one that is very likely to send me to jail. Now, like a prisoner who continuously receives fake execution threats, I am counting my days to be jailed under one of those lawsuits.

Hasan Cemal, Cengiz Ecandar, Ahmet Altan, Can DE-ndar and many other doyens of Turkish media sector face a similar situation. Like me, they spend the most fertile days of their lives giving testimonies at prosecutor's offices or courts, or counting the days until their likely arrest. As they await the fate of bold journalists, Hidayet Karaca, GE-ltekin Avcy and Mehmet Baransu, to befall them, the president, prime minister and ministers shamelessly advertise Turkey as the "world's most free country" and argue that the "press freedoms in Turkey can be found nowhere around the world" or "freedom of the press and freedom of expression are their red lines."

We criticize them based on concrete facts, but they just make fun of us -- and the entire world. But in the end, it is up to us to count the days.

BE[pounds sterling]LENT KENEE[currency] [Cihan/Today's Zaman] Cihan CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Mar 4, 2016
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