By Ekrem Dumanli
September 28, 2014
Pro-government media have again all printed
the same headlines this week. Their publications have recently been giving the
impression that they are acting like a choir. This time, their scenario was
based on things that are Haram, or forbidden in Islam. They published headlines
reading “Haram bonus” or “Haram bonus operation.” The reader concludes when
looking at this common strategy that they are either communicating
telepathically or they are being instructed by the same center to make these
Going back to the Haram headlines, their
publications and reporting suggest that media outlets known for their
pro-government stance pay particular attention to what is Haram and what is
not. Well, given that they write headlines with the word “Haram,” they should
be particularly careful on this religious matter. But this is not the case.
me first summarize the bonus case and then I will elaborate on the attempt to
manipulate public perception the pro-government media has been carrying out.
bonus system, frequently practiced in security agencies, is an attempt to
improve the economic conditions of the security officers working under
strenuous conditions. Given that the current discussion is about the police,
let us take a look at the practice there.
bonus system for the police involves the following stages: 1) Bonus commissions
draft a list at the provincial level, which is subsequently handed over to the
local police chief. 2) The police chief reviews the list and gives it to the
governor. 3) The governor reviews the list, which is then communicated to the
human resources department of the central police department so that they can
determine whether or not the individuals entitled to the bonus are on leave. 4)
The preliminary board receives the list to decide whether or not the bonus is
justifiable and makes its final recommendation. 5) The bonus commission makes
the final decision based on the reviews performed in the previous stages.
all those involved in these five stages, who would be blamed by those
attempting to manipulate public perception? Almost nobody. They first publish
the photos of the police officers who were involved in the Dec. 17 corruption
and bribery investigation; they give their names in lists. Why? Because they
were entitled to some bonuses. So this means that receiving a bonus based on
this five-stage process is a crime.
Additionally, they distort the numbers to give
the impression that these police officers did something that is prohibited by
Islam. They argue that these police officers received large amounts of money as
bonuses calculated in terms of their salaries; but they actually avoid giving
the exact figures given that the salaries they are referring to are pretty
small before additions. In any case, the amount of any given bonus is somewhere
between TL 45 and TL 300. The reader is led to believe the police officers
received thousands of liras in bonuses. But this is not the case.
pro-government media have a different goal. They are particularly angry because
of the firm stance of the police officers who were placed under arrest. They
just want to divert attention from the decisive stance of the parents who
stress that their sons neither did anything wrong nor wasted state resources.
They are further intimidated by the defiance of the detained police officers
who say they never crossed the lines drawn by Allah. For this reason, now they
are trying to give the impression that these police officers committed sins.
is a futile effort. Why, because none of these people implicated by the
pro-government media have actually done anything illegal or unethical in
pursuit of their own interests. The decisions for the bonuses were carried out
by commissions; they never favored anybody in their decisions. And those who
received bonuses never interfered with the process. So is it not misleading
readers to argue that these people committed sinful acts just because they were
entitled to bonuses in accordance with legal procedures? Because this is the
case, now people are asking how these bonuses could be considered Haram.
you argue that the practice is just wrong, then you should make efforts to change
the legislation and practice. But the practice continues. For instance, police
officers and chiefs appointed by the government after Dec. 17 awarded
themselves bonuses. Would you believe that Mustafa Gülcü, deputy police chief
and chair of the bonus commission, gave himself the largest bonus possible
under the laws? Another example: Police Chief Orhan Özdemir, who conducted the
bonus operation, has received 533 bonuses throughout his career. But nobody is
asking: “Well, what did you do? If this is a crime, why don't the
pro-government media report it?”
pro-government media do not really care about the concepts of Haram and Halal.
If they did, they would not have told so many lies or published slanderous
reports about innocent and honourable people. They are, on the other hand,
disturbed by the innocent people who were placed under arrest because they
colleagues who comply with the wishes of the government and adopt a hostile
attitude based on those wishes: Please declare your assets over the last decade
so that everybody can see what you have acquired in this period. You should do
this so that all of Turkey can see why you act like this and tell all these
state has all the records of my assets; your services know everything about me.
In the meantime, the villas, palaces, yachts and summer houses of those who
serve as CEOs just because they are sons-in-law should also be declared. The
public should be informed about the activities and clever choices of the
“political Islamists” of the past, who used to struggle financially and are now
thriving and making big bucks in different industries including construction,
transportation, education and health. This will help people see just how
sincere the people are who publish stories claiming to know what is Haram and
what is not.
And there are also those who have made a
lot of money through public institutions, semi-public institutions, friendly
companies and advertising and production companies; it is hard to see any shred
of sincerity in what those columnists write because a columnist who is made
rich by someone else will inevitably comply with the wishes of his or her
wish the media would pay genuine attention to crucial issues like the concepts
of Haram and Halal and listen to the voice of conscience. Only then will this
country get rid of lies, slander and unethical practices. To get there, we need
to start with the shoeboxes filled with money, the luxury watches and the
illegally purchased villas. When this happens, many people will feel ashamed
and become aware of the realities and the truth. If you feel ashamed, you take
a different path; otherwise, you and your supporters will be oppressed by the
burden of your own sins. You will not be saved by telling lies about others
because the ancient memory inside you will always invite you to your origins.