The Romanian Gendarmerie, in charge of guarding specific objectives and hierarchically placed in the command structure of the Ministry of Interior, has become a political instrument at the hands of a desperate political leader trying to save his own skin. For the very first time in the history of a EU member state, a security institution files an official complaint in court and denounces a suspected coup attempt.
We are witnessing aberrant institutional behavior and a type of political gesture reminiscent of Erdogan’s Turkey – a country where civil liberties have been suppressed and where the supreme leader’s revenge translates into actions undertaken by subservient justice and police systems.
In order to rid himself of the disquieting National Prosecutors Office inquest concerning the violence of 10th of August 2018, Liviu Dragnea has found the solution: forcing the transfer of the case from the office lead by Augustin Lazăr to the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), where he counts on a friendly approach from its recently appointed head, Felix Banila.
This is where the Gendarmerie had a part to play: it filed a formal penal complaint with the DIICOT concerning a supposed coup d’état, hoping that this institution would open a file on this, and thereby take over the inquest from the National Prosecutor’s Office.
In acting like this the Gendarmerie deviated from its constitutional role and became Liviu Dragnea’s political instrument. It is as if the Gendarmerie were his personal bodyguard firm, rather than an institution of the State.
This unprecedented gesture, as well as the institution’s full subservience to Liviu Dragnea reminds one of the way in which Recep Tayip Erdogan, Turkey’s authoritarian leader, dragged his country into unquestioning obedience. Under the pretext of an attempted coup d’état, Erdogan has identified a convenient enemy, the cleric Fethullah Gulen, who was also his main political adversary, and started a witch hunt against all „inimical agents” present in society.
With help from the state security apparatus, which is tightly controlled by the Turkish president, tens of thousands of magistrates, officials, teachers, military people, and journalists were harassed, tried summarily, and locked up for imaginary crimes. Erdogan’s terror also goes beyond Turkey’s borders: he is actively pursuing those working in Gülen’s schools worldwide. Sometimes, as it happened in Moldova, corrupt or weak leaders give in to his demands, and he obtains the extradition of Turkish citizens to Turkey, where they are heavily mistreated.
In the case of the institutions he manages to capture, Dragnea follows Erdogan’s example. He did the same as Erdogan with the Fiscal authority, which was unleashed on the news outlets that reported on his dirty business. He repeated the act with the Court of Auditors, sent to check his political adversaries. He is now doing the same with the Gendarmerie.
However, in this case, the situation is significantly graver. As officials from the Interior Ministry deny the existence of evidence for a coup d’état, it appears that the Gendarmerie is willingly giving in to Dragnea’s wishes. It was enough for the SPD to send a press communiqué creating a parallel reality, and the Gendarmerie followed suit. In doing this, the Gendarmerie has opened Pandora’s box. Once the file is opened by DIICOT, and processed potentially by ill willing prosecutors, anything is possible…
(Traducerea: Ruxandra Stoicescu)
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