Former Turkish President Demirel will not testify in Feb. 28 case
DHA PhotoFormer Turkish President Süleyman Demirel has decided not to testify in the legal case into the Feb. 28 process, widely known as the “post-modern coup,” which unseated Turkey’s first-ever Islamist prime minister.
During a hearing held on Oct. 27, the president of the Ankara 5th Heavy Penal Court, Judge Fevzi Şıngar, announced Demirel’s decision, which was recently conveyed to the court by his lawyer.
Demirel’s testimony was sought by the prosecutor during the previous hearing, and the court accordingly sent an invitation to him.
Some 103 defendants, including the then-chief of General Staff, retired Gen. İsmail Hakkı Karadayı, are being tried in the case as suspects in the military intervention that ultimately forced the late leader of the Welfare Party (RP), Necmettin Erbakan, to resign after a meeting of the National Security Council (MGK) on Feb. 28, 1997.
Demirel, who served as both prime minister and president during a long political career that extended from the 1960s to the late 1990s, was an active politician during the 1971 and 1980 coups and was among those who suffered during the interventions. During his presidency in 1997, however, he was accused of being part of the plot against Erbakan’s Islamist government.
Meanwhile, during the same hearing on Oct. 27, one of the key suspects in the case, then-Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Çevik Bir, refuted a famous quote that has been attributed to him since 1997.
“We calibrated the balance of democracy,” Bir reportedly said at the time, referring to the Feb. 28 intervention. However, during the Oct. 27 hearing Bir rejected having ever said these words.