Military’s ‘e-memo’ goes under probe

Military’s ‘e-memo’ goes under probe

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Military’s ‘e-memo’ goes under probe

Yaşar Büyükanıt. AA Photo

A special-authority prosecutor has launched an investigation into the military’s so-called “e-memorandum” of 2007 and is expected to question then-chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt and his aides, daily Hürriyet reported.

Prosecutor Kemal Çetin opened the probe after several complaints filed over the “e-memorandum” across Turkey were merged in Ankara.

The “e-memorandum,” posted on the military’s website around midnight on April 27, 2007, was the first episode in a chain of events that plunged Turkey into political turmoil and forced early elections. In the statement, the army threatened to step in to protect Turkey’s secular system, hours after Parliament held an inconclusive, first-round vote to elect a new president, with the Islamist-rooted Abdullah Gül standing as the sole candidate. Several days later, the Constitutional Court ruled that Parliament needed a super-majority quorum of 367 lawmakers to vote for a president. Parliament failed to reach the quorum in subsequent sessions as opposition deputies shunned the vote, effectively blocking the election. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) responded by calling early elections, which it won comfortably. The new Parliament elected Gül in August that year.

The prosecutor is expected to investigate who gave the order for the statement to be posted on the army’s website and how the ensuing quorum crisis unfolded. He is also likely to try to establish whether lawmakers who shunned the vote acted so under outside pressure.

Following his retirement, Büyükanıt publicly said he personally penned the statement but denied it was intended to thwart Gül’s election. The fact that Büyükanıt has ducked investigation so far has fanned speculation that he is enjoying protection under a deal he made with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at a closed-door meeting at Dolmabahçe Palace several days after the “e-memo” was issued.

army, politics, democracy, Turkey