Erdoğan vows against more coups, tells Istanbul voters to ‘give a lesson’ to CHP
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed his resolve to put an end to Turkey’s history of coup d’etats, during a visit to the island of Yassıada - notorious for hosting the trials of state ministers deposed in the military coup of May 27, 1960.
“No one can stage a coup in this country as [Turkey] gets stronger. The whole point is that we gain power,” Erdoğan said during a May 26 visit to Yassıada, one of the nine Princes’ Islands off the southeast coast of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara.
The island was renamed “Democracy and Freedom Island” in 2013 as part of a rebranding effort to attract more cultural and historical tourism.
One of the smallest of the picturesque Princes’ Islands archipelago, it is known as the island where the political brass of the once-ruling Democrat Party was exiled prior to the 1960 military coup.
The trials of Turkey’s first democratically-elected prime minister, Adnan Menderes; Foreign Minister Fatin Rustu Zorlu and Finance Minister Hasan Polatkan before the military junta were held on the island. They were later executed by the military junta on İmralı Island in 1961.
“We will hold international meetings here; we will have national meetings here; Yassıada will no longer be recalled for execution,” Erdoğan said, addressing attendees at an iftar dinner on the island. “It will be referred to Democracy and Freedom.”“We will tell the visitors of the museum that a prime minister and two ministers were executed there so that they can understand the mentality of the CHP (Republican People’s Party),” he stated.
The president called on Istanbul voters “give a lesson” to the CHP during the city’s rerun of the mayoral election scheduled for June 23.
Turkish politics was indelibly marked by the executions of Menderes, Zorlu and Polatkan.
President Erdoğan said a development project on the island will be inaugurated by the end of the year, probably in December.
The project includes a 125-room hotel nearly 30 concrete bungalows, a conference hall with capacity to host 600 people, a 1,200-person mosque, museum, cafes and restaurants.
Yassıada had been used as a place for exiles since the fourth century, according to a surveying report by Ebru Elmas’ Architecture Office.
The Byzantine Emperor Theofilos, who ruled between 829 and 842, built the Platea Monastery on the island. Patriarch Ignatios, who was exiled to the island in 860, built a church. Tunnels under the church were used as a dungeon.
Henry Bulwer, a British ambassador to Istanbul who bought the island in 1859 with the approval of Sultan Abdülmecid, built a castle-like building on the coast and a mansion in the middle of the island.
Sometime later, he sold the island to Khedive of Egypt Ismail Pasha.
The Turkish Naval Forces bought the island in 1947.