Bahçeli backs release of ultra-nationalists
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
‘Bahçelievler massacre’ convict Bünyamin Adanalı released from prison. AA photoNot only leftist, but also far-right youth suffered during the chaotic environment before the 1980 military coup, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said yesterday, in response to the reactions against the release of two far-right militants who were charged for killing seven leftist students in 1978.
“We are following with concern that obvious circles who cannot tolerate the prevailing of justice are trying to again encourage the ideological polarization of the past,” Bahçeli said at a press conference in Ankara.
A legal arrangement dated 1991 paved the way for the release of convicts who had served 10 years of their prison sentence. However, while all crimes committed by leftist criminals were considered as one and the serving of 10 years of their total sentence was sufficient for their release, each crime committed by rightist criminals was considered independently, and the discharge of right-wing criminals was made possible only after a 10-year sentence was served for each one of these crimes, Bahçeli explained. “A reputable decision was made at the Parliament for correcting this injustice,” he said.
The release of the far-right militants became possible through a last-minute amendment to the recently adopted third judicial reform package during the debates at Parliament’s Justice Commission on June 2. According to the proposal submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the MHP, prison terms for those who committed several murders before the 1980 coup were reduced. The proposal was approved with AKP and MHP votes despite objections from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
These reactions amount to enmity against the “ülkücü” (ultra-nationalist) movement, Bahçeli argued. Without openly citing his name, he called on Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay to resign from his post if he really is uneasy about the court ruling to release these convicts, as news reports said. “Those people – who have been acting immorally and who have been misusing the Bahçelievler incident – should try to remember how thousands of ultra-nationalists were killed before 1980,” he said.
The killings of seven student members of the now-defunct Turkish Labor Party (TİP) on Oct. 9, 1978, are widely called the “Bahçelievler massacre,” in reference to the Bahçelievler district of Ankara where the killings took place.