Barış Terkoğlu

A goal against Soylu

25 Ocak 2024 Perşembe

You think you've won. But no good comes from a victory gained through bullying.

Like the fishing season on the Bosphorus... The terror season has begun. As with every election period, accusations of "You're the terrorist" are rampant.

Undoubtedly, the architect of this was Süleyman Soylu. I opened the official page of the Ministry of Interior. The statement "505 people were hired during İmamoğlu's term, and there were clear issues with their employment" was still on the ministry's page. Soylu, with his well-known rhetoric, continued, "People who were found as terrorists in the mountains, those who cannot be employed by the state and public institutions..."

Of course, Soylu wasn't telling a dream. He meant that among the thousands working at İBB (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality), even those with a clean criminal record or those who had past legal proceedings or intelligence allegations against them.

Not long, just two months before the election, I wondered what those "terrorists" were doing. I was curious if anything had changed after Soylu.


While we forgot what we ate yesterday, the court decision in front of me had answered my question.

Let me explain.

A citizen named Ş.B. applied for a job at İsper A.Ş., an affiliate of İBB. Not for reading water meters as terrorists, as was claimed, but for a waiter position at a social facility.

Everything went well. He passed the interview on November 1, 2022, submitted the required documents on November 29, and signed the employment contract. He even passed a medical examination and was told to start work on December 24. He was relieved to be free from unemployment.


An "archive research and security investigation" from the Ministry of Interior resulted in negative outcomes. İBB bureaucrats, cautious due to past experiences with Soylu, informed Ş.B. on December 9, 2022, that he failed the security check and couldn't be hired.

Instead of walking away...

Ş.B. decided to fight for his rights. He went to court, claiming, "I was about to be employed, but my security investigation came back negative, and my not being hired is clearly against the law." He told the court, "I have no relation or involvement with any terrorist organization, nor have I received any punishment in this regard."



The Istanbul 11th Administrative Court examined Ş.B.'s file. Indeed, an "archive research" had revealed a record. Ş.B. was charged with "propaganda for a terrorist organization" due to an incident on November 20, 2005, in Istanbul. The Istanbul 11th Heavy Penal Court at the time had decided to postpone prosecution. Since no new case was opened within three years, the terror-related case against him was dropped. Essentially, Ş.B. had a past terror trial but received no punishment, and his file was closed.

The administrative court concluded: "Since there is no situation warranting the negative outcome of the archive research on the plaintiff, it is concluded that the decision not to employ him is not lawful."

Explaining what a security investigation and archive research entail, the court annulled the decision not to hire him. The court also effectively ordered İBB to employ Ş.B. On January 12, the court's decision was communicated to İBB. By procedure, İBB is obliged to implement the court decision within 30 days, although they could appeal and extend the process.


We set aside talking about projects. We declare half the country as terrorists to win an election while cozying up with Saudis, UAE, Sweden, and Finland, whom we used to call terrorists. We say, "There's no waiter job for you in a municipal restaurant." We bring up an incident from 20 years ago for which one was not penalized. While former FETÖ sympathizers, Hizbullah, İBDA-C, and PKK convicts claim "I've changed" and board the president's plane, we say "Let the opposition starve." Finally, a court steps in and says "Stop."

Although it seems like Ş.B.'s case, it's Süleyman Soylu's. Months before the local election, the court has effectively taught a lesson to Soylu's style of governance. I don't know if this will change the narrative of election rallies, but a precedent-setting decision has been made for the long-debated "terrorists in İBB" issue.

The difficulty in law is defending the right against the powerful. Perhaps that's the source of its strength.

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