The Feb 28 coup and our ‘native’ colonizers
This week coup discussions dominated the political agenda. Turkey has just begun to honestly face its past, which is laden with coups and coup attempts, for the first time in its history. The Feb. 28, 1997, coup, considered the last entry in Turkey’s coup history, occupies a unique place as it differs from both Turkey’s past coups and coups that took place in other parts of the world. Feb. 28 goes beyond the military intervention that comes to mind when the word coup is uttered.
The Feb. 28, 1997, coup was played out on a stage prepared and secured by the military with the support of the media, the capitalist bourgeois class, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, universities and external actors (the United States and Israel). A ruling party, brought to power by the votes of millions, was shut down. Millions of citizens were subjected to discrimination with mind-boggling excuses.
Hundreds of thousands of female students were either prevented from completing their education or were subjected to severe discrimination. Hundreds of civil society organizations were shut down. Dozens of “terrorist organizations” were invented by intelligence units with methods that could have come from the archives of Baath regimes. Some civil society organization leaders had to go into exile. In the end, the Feb. 28 coup, contrary to previous coups, targeted the public itself. Turkey was made to resemble a colonized country at the hands of a few Kemalist, Westernizing, secular, Jacobin radicals.
The military witch-hunts of the May 27, 1960, coup, the victimization of the rural populations of the Sept. 12, 1980, coup, and the general unjust treatment of the public at large of the single-party regime in the 1940s were all squeezed into the 1990s. In fact, the 1990s are Turkey’s lost years. The exact opposite of what was happening and being discussed in the world was taking place in Turkey.
The 1990s for Turkey were years of unsolved murders, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terror, competition between the state and the PKK to raise the stakes in violence, an intensification of the pressures on the pious population, governments that could not finish out their terms, the “un-governing” of the country by indecisive coalition governments, corruption caused by the media-capital-government triangle, unmanageable devolution and inflation, financial crises one after another, the bankruptcy of the banking system and military rule that only appeared to be civil. The result was the complete bankruptcy of an entire country. Feb. 28, 1997, was the seal.
The seeds of tutelage planted during the May 27, 1960, coup came to fruition during the Feb. 28, 1997, coup and played the role expected of them to perfection. The tutelage regime did not hesitate to bring things that could only be imagined under a colonizing regime to life. When the AK Party came to power in 2002, the people were finally able to say “stop” to the gang that took the state hostage during the 1990s. Some coup plotters were imprisoned. The majority of those imprisoned were the ones that prepared the stage for Feb. 28.
The media, capital, judiciary and intelligence that had played their roles on this stage with divine pleasure, either had to swallow the “new” Turkey or change costumes. Nowadays, Feb. 28 is the subject of a legal investigation. We shall see how much judiciary will see this naked coup.