15 years ago today we smashed into a wall while fine-tuning
We probably constitute the majority, those who remember the day of Feb. 28, 15 years ago. Those of you who do not remember, I hope you have been watching the documentary on CNN Türk screens that has been running for 12 days and have formed an opinion.
Feb. 28, 1997, is the day when our democracy was killed by stabbing in the back in Ankara in the middle of the square. When looking back today, we can clearly see what we have experienced.
The Chief of General Staff İsmail Hakkı Karadayı, Naval Forces Cmdr. Güven Erkaya, the second Chief of General Staff Çevik Bir and General Secretary of the General Staff Erol Özkasnak of that period undertook leadership in planning and programming. But we cannot hold merely these four responsible for the murder of democracy.
All of us – that is, the entire secular segment – are responsible.
We see these data when we review the military’s stance:
1: The military had believed the Welfare Party (RP) led by Necmettin Erbakan actually wanted to transform this country into a religion state. The military’s aim was not to overtake the rule; it was to prevent reactionism. They were brought up like this with their education, their view of life and with all of their values. For them, the country came first, next came democracy.
2: They had incredible self-confidence. They were sure the entire religionist segment would shatter the moment they stepped in. Nobody would oppose, and a new order would be reached.
3: The entire secular segment was supporting them or the entire secular segment was knocking at the General Staff’s door for them to do something. Well, in such an environment, the General Staff used its entire means of affecting. Moreover, there was a segment so prepared for this, they had no difficulty.
However, while they were conducting all of this, they failed to notice the change in society. They could not test the water. And this was their biggest loss.
We all joined the murder of democracy
Let’s not forget that we should not hold the military solely responsible for what was experienced on Feb. 28.
Fingerprints of all of us are all over the murder in Ankara.
I can see the president, our political parties, more precisely party leaders among the culprits, alongside the military.
Nobody stepped out and told the military, “No, gentlemen. Do not get involved in this business. We can handle this at the polls.” On the contrary, they watched wringing their hands. Before and after the National Security Council (MGK) meeting, they did everything they could to topple the government. They behaved as if the intervention of the military was a normal act. Moreover, in the aftermath, with a touch of Oriental cunning, they were able to go around saying, “I did tell the lady, but she would not listen.”
In this respect, our political parties cannot find any sanctuary to accept them.
What about us, the media?
No, we were also not able to protect democracy. We published and broadcast each story manufactured in the Office of the Chief of General Staff without filtering or questioning. We supported them directly or indirectly. I’m now looking for the pro-military writers and TV hosts of the period and I cannot see any of them around. Let’s not fool ourselves. Except for a handful of us, most of us tolerated the Feb. 28 massacre. Who stood upright, I know very well.
Well, what about our renowned judges and prosecutors?
I am among those who know how their standing ovations were filmed secretly by the military for some TV channels. They also kept quiet and participated from the heart in the murdering incident. Probably they are shameful today for being part of this campaign. Those who were giving a standing ovation after listening to the military’s briefing should be looking for a place to hide nowadays.
What would you say the nongovernmental organizations and the universities did? They did nothing.
Even those who did not provoke the military kept silent. They, in a way, participated in the crime.
The secular segment set forth Feb. 28 for wheel balancing to our democracy. It was such a wheel balance that the breaks of the car we were trying to care and protect failed, its tires burst off and hit the wall.
A new structure was born in place of it. The name of this structure is the Justice and Development Party (Ak Parti), and its leader was Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.