I personally witnessed it. When I visited during the times when there were trenches in the southeastern districts of Sur, Nusaybin and Cizre and conflicts were ongoing, I saw it on location. Municipalities, foundations, associations and schools supported these actions by the terrorist organization, which paralyzed the public's life.
The police officers who were injured in clashes told how the security bureaucracy, civil administrators and local administrations played an active role in the digging of these trenches, the provision of logistic support followed by the bombings, and even showed examples. Two days ago, the Interior Ministry shared these findings with the public.
The timing problem in assigning interim administrators
Interim, or “caretaker”, administrators should actually have been assigned to the ministries that were found to support crime at the time when clashes were still fresh. Some mayors were detained during that period; however, those who replaced them continued the same attitude. Like President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, it is too late.
Politics is a little bit about getting the timing right as much as it is making the right decision. The caretaker administrators who were not appointed then, became part of the campaign against us around the world, after being assigned now. As if we played into the hands of those who were seeking an excuse, the timing was used against us.
There is no problem in terms of the legal infrastructure in assigning a caretaker administration, political will and operation power, however, there is a problem regarding the approach of the caretaker administrators. The political and populist behavior of caretaker administrators in the already tense political atmosphere is escalating problems rather than solving them.
The interim administrator who removed Kurdish
When the first step taken by the caretaker administrator (governor) appointed to the Municipality of southeastern Diyadin was to remove the municipality's Kurdish name and deck out the entire municipality with flags – like he solved every problem – he caused chaos on Eid day. As if that was not enough, he posed and shared it on his social media account. The strange contradiction is that on the same day, President Erdoğan shared an Eid message in many languages through his Twitter account. Kurdish and Zazaki were also among these languages. While the governor removes the Kurdish, the president supports and spreads Kurdish. Everybody noticed the contradiction and showed strong reaction.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu was very quick to intervene. Frankly his speed and determination were commendable. He said, “Kurdish is our language, Diyadin Municipality will hang up that sign. Our problem is with terrorism,” and quelled disputes.
Actually, when you look at it from the opposite side, based on the governor's actions, it is possible to reach serious accusations against the government. It could lead to a perception such as, “Why didn't the government allow the hanging of a flag at the municipality until now? Why didn't it have the Kurdish sign removed? And a governor came and did it all?” Let us hope the young governor's behavior carried populist and media aims.
Public diplomacy lacking again
Turkey still has no public diplomacy institution. Just as we are yet to establish a system that will respond with the same force against the huge campaign against us around the world, we also dispersed the small team that was striving to achieve this. It is impossible not to be surprised.
Forget implementing global communication policies, a communication strategy to fight terrorism at the national level is also yet to be formed. The 10-point master plan former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced in Mardin also included the communication article, but it was not implemented. Now, new concepts, plans and strategies are being announced. Let us see what will be the outcome of these?
Can interim administrators make political decisions?
The management policy of the caretaker administrators appointed to private companies and government agencies such as communication should also be discussed. Can interim administrators make political decisions like in Diyadin? What are their limits and area of influence in legal, administrative and political terms? There should actually be a policy formed for them. Especially in areas where the fight against terrorism is most intense, caretaker administrator appointments and their practices following appointment should be followed meticulously.
We need to accept that the interim administrator system is a new practice introduced to Turkey due to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist organization. The state is seizing control over people's companies, properties and the municipalities chosen by the people. Regardless of whatever angle from which you approach the matter, it is an ominous issue. Then, its reasons, legal infrastructure, timing, communication strategy, media planning, human relations and diplomacy aspects need to be configured and managed really well.
Otherwise, a young political science graduate, who gives a cool pose with his arms crossed, will appear and attempt to ruin your entire policy with a single photograph. The system should not be so fragile.