It was such a ‘climate’

It was such a ‘climate’

While President Abdullah Gül was describing the Feb. 28 era, he referred to the “climate” of that day. 

“That climate influenced everyone,” he said. Yes, if we look at those days through the lens of today, we will see a very different picture. Look at what I wrote in one of my pieces in 2010: 

“Feb. 28 was an interesting period. Today, Erbakan and Çiller are presented as victims of Feb. 28. I wonder if the public ever saw them as ‘victims?’

“Let’s take a look at the first elections after the Feb. 28 process. There were two losers in that election. One was Necmettin Erbakan, the other was Tansu Çiller. 

“Erbakan’s votes were 21.38 in 1995 elections; they dropped to 15.41 percent in 1999. Çiller’s were 19.18 in 1995 but fell to 12 percent in 1999. In other words, one lost 6, the other lost 7 points.” 

Doesn’t this mean that voters punished those who were presented as “victims?” Well, who did voters award? People awarded Bülent Ecevit. The Democratic Left Party’s (DSP) vote was 14.64 percent in 1995. In 1999, it went up to 22.19 percent, an eight-point increase. 

So, who did the people award in the Feb. 28 process, which is alleged to have “inflicted sufferings on Muslims?”

The leader who stood against Merve Kavakçı, who was trying to enter the Turkish Parliament with her headscarf on. 

Strange, isn’t it? It is not strange when you come to think of the slogans chanted in stadiums those days, the home lights that went on and off in protest. Also think of the corruption allegations. 

I am also curious about the answer to this question: Who is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the person who was rewarded by voters in the 2002 elections? 

Is he a victim of Feb. 28 or is he a leader who was able to take lessons from the effect of Feb. 28 on Muslims? 

Didn’t he become a renewed politician who continued his political career not by saying he was continuing with Erbakan, nor with his party, in other words not with the “National View,” but continued it instead by saying he had taken off the “shirt of the National View?” Look at Süleyman Demirel. He returned after Sept. 12 and first became prime minister, then president. However, neither Erbakan nor his party was able to return. Don’t you think these things matter at all? 

Explaining the signature 

I asked in a column recently: “Those who have their signatures on decisions made by the National Security Council (MGK) should explain their reasons for them.” Erbakan is dead. President Abdullah Gül, who was a state minister at the time, explained the presence of Erbakan’s signature on this document on his way to Amsterdam: “Erbakan acted like the mother of a child. He wanted to solve issues by going easy and without causing any damage. He wanted to solve things in time.”

 I think that is a reasonable, human and convincing explanation. 

But, if we find this explanation reasonable, then why are we pressuring the president of the period, Süleyman Demirel? 

He also wanted to solve this crisis that infected all of society, “without causing any damage,” and especially within the framework of the constitutional organs, didn’t he? 

That was “the spirit of the times.” 

Those who do not understand the “climate” are raising their voices and being more royalist than the king these days. Maybe to erase what they did in those days.

Those gurus who expounded on unsolved murders by saying, “Anyone who receives a bullet for this country is as honorable as the one who fires it,” are now beating the drums of revenge. 
 
Ertuğrul Özkök is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on April 18. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.

Turkey, coup, feb 28