Barış Terkoğlu: Who will win beauty contests?

The story of the ant and the cicada seems to have been written backwards. You go up the stairs with a puff. You take a look; the top is full of those who stayed on the hill with their hands.

The decision to travel hit us once again. Those who jumped from district organization to court presidency…Those who jumped from party window to embassy…Those who were appointed governor in one day and struck off in one day…Those who were appointed from the zoo to TÜBİTAK… Those who were sent to head the Historical Society by the Ensar Foundation…

The Language Association said “to be worthy, worthy” for merit. Naturally, if the person occupying the seat leaves it empty, it is said to be “unqualified”.

There is a book today that explains exactly this situation. Some I knew, others I just learned. Journalist Candaş Tolga Işık’s book “Mercy” sums up the regime of incompetence in Turkey’s later period:

“At a not so distant date, I also took part as a journalist in a trip to Paris, the capital of France, with an official delegation. A French journalist asked: “Do you know that your ambassador in Paris does not speak French? I couldn’t believe it when he said it. We could not have sent an ambassador who did not speak French to France, whose extreme sensitivity towards French is known throughout the world! At dinner tonight, I found out and confirmed that we had indeed sent it! When I returned to Turkey, how many of our ambassadors were assigned to countries other than English? at least French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, German? I researched that you know the mother tongues. The result was not even 10%!


Of course, it’s no coincidence, the source of Turkey’s biggest stories of incompetence in the last period is the law. Because the order that lets in what it wants with a prosecutor – a judge doesn’t let those seats go to those who deserve them. Candaş Tolga Işık quoted a prosecutor he spoke to:

“Two people in a town are involved in a fight which resulted in simple injuries and are brought to the courthouse. Once our prosecutor takes the statements, he forwards them to the court. At this moment, our prosecutor’s phone rings. The caller is the district leader of the ruling party in the district where the incident took place. He said to the prosecutor in a very relaxed tone: “I have spoken, they will settle the matter between themselves, my prosecutor, you give up the prosecution, do not refer to the court”. When the prosecutor says, “Who are you to tell me what decision I’m going to make,” the district manager says, “You can see who I am” and hangs up. The next day, the prosecutor opens an investigation. His appointment falls after 10 days. When the prosecutor told me this story, ‘I’m crazy brother. I’m not afraid of anyone. If it was, I would do the same thing again, but if a young prosecutor experienced this incident, if such a call came back, could he act according to the law? He asked.”

In fact, the law has become too important a task to be left to lawyers. Işık summarized the judiciary that has tightened up in front of the government as follows:

“More than half (8 people) of the 15 members of the Constitutional Court, the supreme court at the top of justice, do not have a law degree. A similar situation also applies to the Council of State in a way. In 2021, the Council of State has 13 offices. The heads of 10 of these 13 departments are not law graduates! The vice-presidents of the Council of State, who head the administrative and tax litigation services, are not law school graduates either. In other words, the number of law graduates among the presidents is a minority! More than half of the eleven members of the Institution of Human Rights and Equality of Turkey (six members) are not lawyers. With the exception of two of the nine members of the Personal Data Protection Board (seven members), none of them is a law school graduate. 8 out of 9 members of the Superior Council of Radio and Television do not have a law degree.


Some of the many stories of incompetence in the book are their own testimonies. Işık, who was previously a columnist for Posta, explained how his newspaper was run:

“Worse still, when my censored article was published together with a similar article by another journalist at Hürriyet, another newspaper in our group, I couldn’t stand it in the morning and said ‘Journalism is forbidden in Posta, is it free in Hürriyet? ‘ I asked. The response I received from the editor was short and to the point: “Let’s just say…” The man told me openly ‘we don’t care about journalism here, we do what we are told, if you don’t like it, bye bye’. A journalist, especially a person running a newspaper, could not say that with such comfort. However, there was no such concern for this friend of ours. Because he was elected head of this institution precisely for this reason, and not because he had journalistic qualifications, that is, because he had a personality structure that would carry out instructions without mistake. The instructions deemed it so appropriate that day, God gave grace for tomorrow!

Like rotten flesh…

Once started, it’s everywhere. Its smell can be heard even from afar. You know, after every beauty pageant you think “how did this happen”? Işık told the story of a member of the jury he was ashamed of, plunging the bag into himself:

“The years when I was a member of the executive board of TV8… Our channel obtained the rights to broadcast a program which I no longer remember exactly whether it was a beauty contest or a modeling contest. (…) The competition started, we went to take our places. Candidates have come and gone. It’s time for the jury to vote. They put papers in front of us. Out of the corner of my eye, I watch the jurors to my left and to my right. Who they are writing for… Everyone writes the names of the same candidates, more or less. Then a roar sounded and an announcement was made: “The jury has made its decision.” How did he give it? Who gave? My papers are in front of me! Am I the juror of the beans? I looked in front of everyone’s newspaper! (…) After that day, each time I come across a beauty contest, best model, model of gesture, I laugh at the pathetic state of the members of the jury. Beauty, modeling, etc. Even in competition, there’s only one thing no one cares about: merit!

Not only the institutions have been destroyed. interiors; it was filled with the reciprocity of your accumulation and your rights. The laws of progress and regress have been destroyed and leaps have been linked to relationships. A minority government emerged.

Yesterday was May 1. Today it’s the holidays. Don’t forget to rub the callus you see on the hand you kissed on your forehead. He has the secret of both the collapse and the establishment.

To note: Last week, I wrote about the Taksim and Erdoğan Solidarity meeting during the Gezi events, with the testimony of Cem Tüzün. I spoke to Beyza Metin in the interview after the article. While confirming the details given by Tüzün, Metin said the word “know your place” came from Erdoğan’s mouth, not his. I add this in order to be recorded correctly in history.

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