Turkey’s judiciary held controversial elections Oct. 12 to determine the new members of the Higher Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK). The main issue of discussion before and after the elections was the number of “Gulenist candidates.” Newspapers claimed ahead of the election that out of 15,000 judges and prosecutors 3,000 to 5,000 were Gulenists. After the vote we were told that “only two Gulenists got elected to the HSYK” and front-page headlines trumpeted “the defeat of the community.”
The “defeat” may have upset many members and sympathizers of the community, led by Muslim scholar and preacher Fethullah Gulen, but if they try to see the issue from another perspective they will realize that the cloud has a big silver lining. Because any perception of the community wielding disproportionate clout in the judiciary is harmful both to the community itself and Turkish democracy.