Feb 28 probe continues with fresh detentions
General Yıldırım Türker, a former member of the ‘Western Working Group Crisis Desk’ during the Feb. 28 postmodern coup was also detained in Ankara. DHA PhotoTurkish police launched a third wave of raids yesterday, in which former Gendarmerie commander Fevzi Türkeri was detained and a dozen locations across Turkey were searched as part of a probe into the Feb. 28 postmodern coup of 1997.
A specially authorized Ankara prosecutor ordered the detentions of 13 military personnel, seven of them active-duty troops, while officials conducted searches at 12 different locations in Ankara, Istanbul, İzmir and Kars, including the lodgings of suspect troops in military zones, according to reports.
Authorities have already detained former Gendarmerie commander Gen. Fevzi Türkeri at his residence in Ankara. Türkeri is known as the general who issued briefings to members of the press during the post-modern coup, also known as the “Feb. 28 process.”
Officials also searched the home of retired lieutenant general Yıldırım Türker, a former member of the “Western Working Group Crisis Desk” during the Feb. 28 postmodern coup.
Taner Yıldız, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources said the process was a sign of “normalization.” “Turkey is growing healthily, our growth is not an obesity. Turkey’s heart and mind are growing proportionally,” Yıldız said when asked about the investigation over Feb. 28 in a press meeting after ICCI 2012’s opening ceremony yesterday.
Former Energy Minister Recai Kutan, who was in the Cabinet of the Refah-Yol coalition government between 1996 and 1997, also said Turkey was normalizing with the investigation on February 28 process. “Turkey was split into two parts in those days. The judicial remedy is not taking revenge. If Turkey had not lived through February 28, it could be way ahead today,” Kutan said.
A total of 18 suspects, including Gen. Çevik Bir, who served as Deputy Chief of General Staff during the coup, were arrested on April 12 during the first wave of raids in the investigation. Erol Özkasnak, a retired major general and a leading figure in the Feb. 28 process was arrested along with eight other suspects during the second wave on April 19.
The police mainly questioned suspects about the “Western Action Concept” of the “Western Working Group,” which was a committee of military officials that is said to have monitored the government’s activities and kept illegal records of private information about thousands of people.
The Feb. 28 process refers to a harsh military-led campaign that forced Turkey’s first Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan to resign in June 1997 after serving in office for only a year.
The process derives its name from the Feb. 28, 1997, meeting of the National Security Council (MGK), in which Turkey’s then-omnipotent military imposed a series of tough secularist demands on Erbakan that were primarily aimed at curbing Islamic education in the face of what was perceived to be a growing threat to Turkey’s secular system.