The Unraveling of Turkey’s Police Department

An unpleasant reality sinks in after the purge of some 30,000 police officers. Crooks and inept officers filled the vacuum.

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The Fish and Corrupted View of Work Ethics

There is an anonymous proverb in Turkish culture to describe the nature of corruption in the bureaucracy. The fish, the folk saying emphasizes in simplified terms, begins to stink from the head, down to the body. It means that if the head of the state shows no regard for the rule of law, then nobody does. If a government head, a prime minister or a president, crosses the bounds of official propriety too often, then other public servants feel less committed to abide by the law or norms. The head of state, in the eyes of the public, then sets the precedent, good or bad, and the law of the land. Everything Turkey has experienced over the past few years unequivocally vindicates this centuries-old folk saying. Consider a country where a president repeatedly shows contempt not just for court rulings, but also for the Constitutional Court decisions which are final and binding for every other court and government institution. His show of contempt extends to binding ECtHR rulings as well. In this political context where the judiciary has been shredded, where every known law and norms are trampled without any regard, where prosecutors and judges have been imprisoned en masse, why does an ordinary public worker give any shred of respect for the law?

Virginia-based journalist and writer. Politics, culture, art, and technology. American political affairs, Turkey, the MidEast, and beyond. Twitter: @abyasun

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