High-ranking military figure from Turkey's ‘Feb 28 process’ detained
This file photo from May 1997 shows Gen Çevik Bir. Hürriyet photoTurkish police raided 30 locations, including the home of former Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Çevik Bir, as part of a probe this morning into the “post-modern coup” of Feb. 28, 1997.
Bir was detained by the police, Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) Deputy Chairman Ahmet Hamsici has announced.
The raids concentrated on the homes of military officers who held high positions during the Feb. 28 process. Detention orders were issued for a total of 31 people.
Bir was the deputy Chief of General Staff during the Feb. 28 process, when he allegedly sent directives to prosecutors and members of the judiciary on behalf of the General Staff.
Speaking recently on the 15th anniversary of the post-modern coup, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the masterminds and supporters of the Feb. 28 process would never be forgiven "even if a thousand years went by.”
The turbulent process took its name from the Feb. 28, 1997, meeting of the National Security Council (MGK), at which Turkey’s then omnipotent military imposed a series of tough decisions on then-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan that mainly aimed to curb religious schools and Islamic education in the face of what was perceived at the time as a growing threat to Turkey’s secular system.
Backed by the bureaucracy and much of the media, the army kept Erbakan under pressure, forcing him to resign in June. Erbakan’s Welfare Party, to which Erdoğan and current President Abdullah Gül belonged, was outlawed for anti-secular activities several months later.