Officers are trained to stage coups when necessary
I like this proverb a lot: “As you sow, you shall reap.”
While following the debate and comments on Feb. 28, I keep remembering this: “This is how we train our officers. We push them toward a coup…”
I wrote my book, “Yes, Commander” (Emret Komutanım) in 1986. There was a very clear finding after doing research for the book. I had especially researched their textbooks and how they were trained starting from high school.
The officer training system of the Turkish Armed Forces and the education given are openly teaching our officers that they have a right to stage a coup when it is necessary.
Listen to speeches and look at the books studied at schools, then you will see how they are prepared to protect and save the secular republic.
If we want to have a future free of the anxiety of “What will the military do?” then we need to go down to the root of the problem.
Let’s focus on what we are sowing, not on the fear of being prosecuted. We have to decide how our officers are to be trained. We are training our officers to prepare coups, and then we turn to the same people and ask, “Why have you staged a coup?”
If they get back on us and say, “You have taught me as such, have told me to act as such and now you are asking me why I did it,” then we don’t have an answer for that.
Military frightened politicians on Feb. 28
While the February 28 process is being debated, one of the topics is “If Erbakan had not resigned, then would the military actually take over the government or was it bluffing?”
Erbakan and majority of his entourage were totally sure that the military would have staged a coup. All the signals they were receiving at that time were pointing in that direction, they used to say. They still insist on that.
Another wing within the Welfare (Refah) Party (for example, those who think like Arınç) believe that Erbakan should have resisted. Because of lack of resistance, because of not responding, “Mind your own business,” the Doğruyol government broke up, they reiterate.
Among those who believe that the military might have actually taken over the administration is the then-president Süleyman Demirel. He told me this during our interview for the “February 28; Last Coup” documentary, he also repeated it in other interviews. He said if Erbakan had not resigned, then the military would have acted. Moreover, as a reply to those who fiercely criticize him for assigning Mesut Yılmaz instead of Çiller to form the government and who accuse him of acting in unity with the military, he said, “I have prevented a coup in this manner.”
Well, what is the truth? If the military was not able to achieve what it wanted after all those efforts, would it actually intervene? All the research I have done has given me the negative answer.
No, the military did not have the intention of taking over. It frightened the civilians and especially the politicians. It bluffed.
The principal responsible party of the West Working Group (BÇG) that was formed on Feb. 28 was the Naval Forces Commander General Güven Erkaya. He had personally told me numerous times that it was impossible for the military to intervene any more in 1997. Moreover, the book published by Doğan Kitap titled “One soldier, One Diplomat” compiled from the interviews retired ambassador Taner Baytok conducted with Erkaya, this subject is explained very clearly. Güven Erkaya tells in detail how they kept politicians under pressure by creating the impression that a coup was imminent.
As a result, those who have supported February 28 at the time should not hide under the justification of “preventing the coup.”