Former PM claims she was ‘target’ of Feb 28

Former PM claims she was ‘target’ of Feb 28

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Former PM claims she was ‘target’ of Feb 28

Testifying to Parliament’s coup panel, which is investigating Turkey’s former military takeovers, ex-PM Çiller (L) says she was the Feb 28 coup’s target. AA photo

Turkey’s first female prime minister Tansu Çiller testified yesterday that she had been a target of the “post-modern coup” of Feb. 28, 1997 to Parliament’s coup commission, which is currently investigating Turkey’s former military takeovers and interventions.

Commission members went to Çiller’s shore-front house in Yeniköy, Istanbul, to hear her testimony.
Speaking to journalists after commission members left, Çiller said the Feb 28 process was a coup and she was the target of it.

“The Feb. 28 incident is a coup, but it was a groundbreaking one since it differs from other coups in two aspects. First, it was not an intersection, but a process. Secondly, Parliament was not completely abolished,” Çiller said.

“With this coup, the most fundamental principle of democracy was violated, since the party which represented the majority was marginalized and put into the position of a minority. The documents revealed by the Specially Authorized Prosecutor showed that the coup mainly aimed to topple True Path Party (DYP) and the coalition. But the nation paid the price for this deliberate act,” Çiller said. “I don’t complain about anyone, I don’t want to settle any personal account. We only need to understand what we did wrong.”

While leaving Çiller’s residence, coup commission member and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder told reporters that during the meeting they talked about the incidents that occurred during Çiller’s term in office.

“During the Esteemed Çiller’s term in office, 1,500 Kurdish villages were depopulated. Also, the Madımak [an incident in which 35 people were killed in a 1993 arson attack on a hotel that was hosting an Alevi festival] and the Gazi neighborhood massacres took place. I asked about all these [incidents],” Önder said.

Arrest of lawmakers

“I also asked about the dismissal of Kurdish deputies from Parliament and esteemed Çiller’s remark [given at the time] ‘We will eradicate this shadow over Parliament,’ with regard to this incident. I asked about the murder of our deputy group chair Pervin Buldan’s husband and questioned the statement she issued at the Holiday Inn Hotel, saying that ‘There is a list of Kurdish business people.’ This was esteemed Pervin Buldan’s question and I asked it [for her],” Önder said, adding that he did not receive a satisfactory answer.

After the meeting ended, commission head Nimet Baş said Çiller claimed she (Çiller) had been a target during the Feb. 28 process.

Çiller served as the prime minister between 1993 and 1996 and was the deputy prime minister during the Feb. 28 process. “Çiller said that the minority put a pressure on the majority and that this was done through an undemocratic process,” Baş said.

The Feb. 28 process refers to the army-led campaign that forced Turkey’s first Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan to resign in June 1997.