Coup averted, the ex-ministers should get their posts back

Coup averted, the ex-ministers should get their posts back

With the vote in parliament late Jan. 20, the majority of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers put the final nail in the coffin of yet another coup attempt targeting the ruling party, and hence the national will.

By refusing to send the four former ministers - former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, former EU Minister Egemen Bağış, former Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar and former Interior Minister Muammer Güler - to the Supreme Council in order to be tried on charges of bribery and corruption, the AKP parliamentary group members proved that they will stand tall, just like the party’s natural leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, against any attempt to topple the government and distress the “New Turkey’s glorious march to the year 2023.”

Now the responsibility is on the shoulders of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who has been entrusted by Erdoğan to lead the cabinet when the president himself cannot. With the power vested in him by the lawmakers, and hence the people, the prime minister is obliged to end the suffering of the four ex-ministers and give their seats back. Reza Zarrab, the businessman around whom the whole plot was structured, is free of any charges and continuing his business as usual, buying new airplanes, etc.

So why should four politicians be the only victims of this dirty plan by the followers of the Fethullah Gülen Movement, aka the “parallel state?”

Isn’t it obvious that the cash found during the raids, the money transactions and the gifts given to the former ministers, the so-called evidence, were just made up by the police and the prosecutors who launched the operation? If you still had any doubt about corruption, the vote in parliament should have cleared the air for you.

Prime Minister Davutoğlu should be swift to give the wrongfully accused and deliberately targeted ex-ministers their rightful posts back. I humbly advise him to start with Bayraktar, who seemed like he was about the crack under the pressure of the coup-plotters and the opposition.

“I want to talk, I still want to,” he told reporters before the vote in parliament, as if there was anything to say other than defying this daring attack on our democracy. “But my close friends and fellows said it would be better if I don’t do so. Therefore, I will not talk. I state this because I love you. You should also love me – I need some love,” he added. It is devastating to see such a politician feeling so lonely and unloved; a private dinner with the president, or at least the prime minister, might make him feel part of the AKP family again.

But Davutoğlu’s job will not be over by giving the former ministers their posts back. As Şamil Tayyar, a former journalist and now an AKP lawmaker, brilliantly put it, there is a “network of traitors” within the AKP.

Those ruling party members who voted “yes” in Parliament - 38 lawmakers according to Tayyar - at a time when democracy and the will of the people were under attack, should be identified name by name and expelled from the party. Democracy will never let people exploit their right to side with coup-plotters and the enemies of the ballot box, who seek ways outside democracy to prevent Turkey from being a world power.

Since the AKP came to power in 2002, it has been the target of countless coup attempts. The one planned by the military was avoided by the Ergenekon and Balyoz coup plot cases. The fact that all former and active duty soldiers sentenced in those trials are free today awaiting retrial does not mean that the cases were bogus, or even if they were, it was the job of the “parallel state.”

Then came the Gezi protests, but that attempt was also averted with only eight people killed by the police and only hundreds of others permanently injured. The numbers may seem high, but don’t forget that the Gezi protesters even tried to kill the then-prime minister by telekinesis, but fortunately, his nationalist-turned-democracy-fighter and adviser Yiğit Bulut was quick to uncover that plot.

There were probably many other attempts, which the government successfully fought back without the public even knowing about them.

And now the final attempt, which hurt the most because it was perpetrated by a group the government once trusted with its biggest secrets and gave full responsibility of the judiciary and the police, seems to have been avoided. The time for normalization has come, and it should start by giving back to the victims of this hideous attack on democracy what they rightfully deserve.

But it is still not time to relax, the enemy never sleeps, and when sunrise comes it brings new ideas to coup-plotters.