For a long time, there have been no solutions implemented for the economic problems affecting a large segment of society; we are being tossed back and forth. Those in government, including the president who is actually part of the executive, address us on a daily basis from the “land of fairy tales”, serving no purpose other than satisfying their own and a very small group’s interests. Those occupying ministerial seats are especially concerned about the possibility of the ground beneath their feet slipping away at an unexpected time.
For example, when they board a plane for the return trip home, they could face the risk of losing their seat in mid-air. When this is the situation, rather than taking steps for the benefit of society, they focus on showing gratitude and obedience. Otherwise, the seat may be pulled out from under them, and they may suddenly find themselves in a void. For instance, this is why İzlem Gürçağ Altuğra and Ziya Öztürkler, with the shock they had after being removed from their posts, continued to make social media posts and issue statements expressing their “love of service”: “Our worth and value were not appreciated, oh my people, do not forget us!”
Of course, the issue in question is not only limited to the UBP’s [National Unity Party] internal turmoil. The effort of the government’s other [coalition] partners, the DP [Democratic Party] and YDP [Rebirth Party], to fill the pockets of certain circles instead of working for the country’s benefit, has also contributed to deepening the crisis in the economy. For example, if a property sale is to be made, it is alleged that the bribes to high-ranking officials are included in the amount to be paid. As you can see, the salt has gone bad [Translator’s note: Turkish expression meaning things have gone sour], so what to expect from the citizen?
There are many problems that can be listed about today. However, I’d like to focus on the growing crime rate and make a few observations. Incidents referred to as “Page 3 news” among the media community are seriously occupying our agenda. The increase seen in financial crimes is especially noteworthy. A significant portion of these crimes is due to deepening poverty and the absence of an effective population policy that has never managed to be created. It’s striking that the individuals being prosecuted are often either students on visas in the country or individuals who have fallen into undocumented status in some way. This indicates that the state is not properly monitoring the population entering the country somehow by legal means.
It doesn’t take an expert to say that someone who is undocumented and has no social security in the country is more likely to commit a crime. Yes, our public order is being disrupted but let’s also acknowledge that we are somehow exploiting these individuals. Firstly, if these individuals are not students, they arrive in the country with preliminary permits and then go unmonitored. Later, a significant portion of them are employed in various jobs without any records, for cheaper wages, uninsured, and under flexible working conditions or hours, and mostly, their undocumented status is only revealed when they commit a crime. If they are students, many of them are cheated by intermediary companies. If they don’t commit crimes, they continue to stay undocumented within the country for long periods of time due to the lack of necessary checks and controls. This issue brings serious problems both in economic terms and in terms of living with human dignity.
So, what happens after then? Individuals without any legal status in the country, when they commit crimes, await trial in prison, and when they are sentenced to imprisonment, continue to stay in jail. We have criticized for years the fact that the old prison exceeded its capacity, and we explained that it was a matter of human rights violations. We said that the torture and ill-treatment that a convict or detainee would experience in prison was not limited to physical violence; even if the conditions of detention were not classified as torture, they fell under the category of ill-treatment. But as always, it fell on deaf ears, and we even became a target with statements like “the tree that bears fruit is stoned.”
Finally, in November of last year, it was claimed that the overcrowding issue was resolved by moving to the new prison premises. However, we see that we have succeeded in exceeding the capacity of the new prison before its first year. We are holding 844 individuals in a space designed for 625 people (!) … In essence, we must understand that the real success is not in building new and larger prisons. What about preventing crime? Tell us about that.
In recent days, an incident has come to light that is highly relevant to these issues and further increases the uncontrolled population. Two individuals were caught illegally issuing residence permits since 2022 by “infiltrating” the Interior Ministry’s system (it is said that they worked for the company providing the system used by the ministry). Just imagine the chaos that has ensued due to permits being issued in this manner for the past year. And then we talk about population control, saying that there is no oversight of who comes and goes. Yet, it turns out that fake permits are being issued using state resources, and we had no idea. Oh, and most likely, these two individuals will take their place in a prison already at full capacity. This is also part of the problem that has been created.
Ultimately, due to the power struggle for seats and the race to pocket public resources, there is no time left to find solutions to real problems as such. We, the citizens, are the ones suffering the consequences. We know that an administration that does not know, control, and plan its population cannot duly provide any form of public service. The social and economic collapse happening in all areas, from education to healthcare, from public safety to social services, has made dignified living impossible. There’s no time left to sit and think. Either we will stand up and put a stop to this system, or we will watch as our future, shrouded in darkness, slips through our hands. Here is my message to those who still think they have something to lose: “Scarcity, poverty, and corruption will soon knock on your door. Right now, they’re already at your neighbour’s door.” Take it from me.