AKP may compensate military coups’ victims

AKP may compensate military coups’ victims

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AKP may compensate military coups’ victims

DAILY NEWS photo/ Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkish politics have been discussing coups and their outcomes for a long time. Some of the leaders of the last coup, Kenan Evren and his friends, are on trial. Parliament’s Coup and Memorandum Investigation Commission prepared a report and, despite its deficiencies, made significant conclusions. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is preparing to eliminate the relevant legislation they believe establishes grounds for coups. During the May 27 coup, March 12 memorandum, Sept. 12 coup and Feb. 28 period, a total of 1,998 laws, 227 statutory decrees, 272 regulations and 375 cabinet directives were issued. Now, the AKP government is working on 295 laws and regulations currently in effect. Next spring, the latest – an arrangement on “coup cleansing” – is expected to be on the parliamentary agenda.

On one hand, the AKP is preparing to make changes in the legislation, on the other hand it is looking for formulas to reduce the victimization of those who have been harmed by the coups. The number of victims of coups and memorandums are believed to reach the millions. For this reason, the debate continues on what kinds of compensation should be resorted to.

I had the opportunity to ask Parliament’s Coup and Memorandum Investigation Commission’s Feb. 28 Subcommittee President Yaşar Karayel about the work in progress. Karayel said that they have suggested a commission be formed for victims of coups; and that this was the only way to be able to carry out such work. According to him, in January, or at the latest February, a parliamentary research commission will be formed.

They were searching for answers to the question, “What can be done materially and morally,” Karayel noted. “There may be several options, such as an apology from Parliament, restoration of those who had lost their jobs to their former positions, monetary compensation and revoking of death penalty verdicts. The committee formed would debate all of these and set the criteria. Through these means, our country will be able to erase the shame of coups. The victims would be compensated both on the legal platform and on spiritual grounds.”

It is a pleasing development to protect victims of coups and to save the country from the shame of coups in the name of “democracy.” However, the opposition has some concerns regarding these measured and there are two different stances in the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The widespread interpretation in opposition corridors is that, “the real aim of the AKP is not to protect all the victims of coups. The AKP wants to protect the victims of Feb. 28 and compensate for their lost rights. For that reason, they tend to prioritize the restoration of jobs and apologies.”

MHP’s İmralı concerns

The MHP has further concerns. MHP Leader Devlet Bahçeli openly expressed that “the restoration of honor” would even reach İmralı island (where the outlawed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is imprisoned). The impression I got from AKP corridors hints at the concerns of the opposition right. The atmosphere there puts forward a general apology to all coup victims by a parliamentary decision. Restoration of jobs can be added to this and would only be beneficial to those most recently affected; that is, those who lost their jobs during the events of Feb. 28.

The honor of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, who was executed after the 1960 coup, was restored on April 17, 1990 by Parliament. Can there be any restoration of honor except for a “general apology” addressing Deniz Gezmiş and his friends, who were executed during the events of March 12, or to Erdal Eren, who was executed after his age was tampered, and other victims both from the right and left? The picture here is hopeless, the opposition argues, saying “the AKP would prefer not to pay any compensation” to tens of thousands of victims of the Sept. 12 coup.

In light of all these debates, the AKP is preparing to form a Coup Victims Research Commission in the first months of the year. Let’s see if these debates generate outcomes that would, to some extent, ease the pain of the millions of coup victims.

AKP readies for Hizbullah dare

Hizbullah, which has grassroots in the southeast, has set up the Hür Dava Partisi in order to engage in politics within the legal platform. The new party is thought to have enough power in the region to attract votes from both the AKP and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
The AKP has immediately taken action and assigned former Batman deputy Mehmet Emin Ekmen, who knows Hizbullah well, as its Diyarbakır Regional Representative. It is being whispered that as his first task, Ekmen will restructure the Diyarbakýr provincial organization and write a report on what possible measures the AKP could take in response.

Two names in CHP leader's mind

There are still 15 months before local elections, however, competition within the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) began early with the race for the position of Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor. Potential names mentioned for this major seat include Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül, the party’s deputy presidents Gürsel Tekin and Haluk Koç, Parliament’s group deputy chairman Akif Hamzaçebi and the name that emerges most in surveys, Muharrem İnce. Kılıçdaroğlu has reportedly said to close aides that he has “two names in mind,” but has not given any clues as to who those two names may be.