Majority of us applauded Sept. 12, then felt remorse
I remember the day Sept. 12, 1980 very well. The dominant feeling was, “Finally, brother, finally, they have stopped the flow of blood.”
Those who remember the 1977-80 era are still around. A desperate economic crisis, a black period when no good was easily found.
We were living in a country of fear where it was not known when those who went to work in the morning would come back or whether they would come back. Everyday horrible crimes were being committed. One from the right; the other from the left. As if this was not enough, there were raids in groups and mass murders. Liberated zones.
May 1, 1977 incidents.
1978 Sivas incidents.
1978 Kahramanmaraş incidents.
Abdi İpekçi’s (editor-in-chief of daily Milliyet) murder in 1979.
They were Turkey’s most chaotic, most dangerous years.
After all of these, those who were relieved with a deep “Oh” were in huge numbers and on the day of the coup on Sept. 12, the intervention was greeted with applause. Those who were against the coup were not listened to, those who opposed it were detained.
Nobody in those days questioned, “Why didn’t the military intervene much before, why did they wait?”
Later, while I was writing my book “September 12, 4 o’clock” (12 Eylül saat 04:00), I learned from General Bedrettin Demirel that the coup date had been moved from May to September so the public would be better prepared.
Especially after the coup’s short honeymoon period, the torture and executions started and the country was squeezed into a steel vest. The immediate atmosphere of the intervention was gone. This example of political science Prof. Baskın Oran is adequate in explaining the Sept. 12 mentality. How the Military Supreme Court of Appeals justifies torture in its verdict:
“… Even if, for a moment, we assume that torture is a fact, torture is exerted to obtain correct answers from the defendant. If incorrect, false answers are given, then the dose of the torture will be increased because the goal of torture is to obtain correct answers. Since it is natural that the defendants are also aware of this situation, the logical outcome is that the person who is being tortured should give correct answers…”
Can you imagine such a mentality?
The military is not the only responsible party
The majority of this country is also responsible for the Sept. 12 coup.
The two leaders of the period, Süleyman Demirel and Bülent Ecevit, could not demonstrate the required common sense and political vision. They did not or could not take those steps that would have prevented the military to intervene.
Businessmen did everything they could for the coup to happen. A significant portion of them are still alive; just go and ask them. Those politicians who did not win the elections supported the military in full force.
If you ask, “How about the media?” it was the same. It is impossible to forget the headlines which read, “Come on, why are you still waiting?”
The retired soldier-police-justice lobby also went to the ends of the earth.
The Western world, first and foremost the United States and Europe, almost incited the coup.
Now, it is not apt to look at all these and to say, “Well, so much time has passed since then. This kind of an intervention was necessary anyway.”
If Turkey wants to wipe the slate clean, then it has to settle accounts with the Sept. 12 and Feb. 28 interventions. These are symbolic cases.
Everybody should know that whoever stages a coup will give an account of it sooner or later.
The Sept. 12 case should cause the turning over of a new leaf in this country.