Ousted Turkish PM says he is already even with coup

Ousted Turkish PM says he is already even with coup

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Ousted Turkish PM says he is already even with coup

Süleyman Demirel

Süleyman Demirel, who was overthrown as prime minister in the 1980 putsch, has reiterated his plan not to become an intervening party in the prosecution against the takeover’s surviving leaders since he is already “even with the coup.”

“I want to ask where those [people] who criticize me [now] for not applying to this court were when I was fighting against the coup with a bunch of fellows in those days,” Demirel told the Hürriyet Daily News in a telephone interview yesterday, the same day proceedings began against coup leaders Kenan Evren and Tahsin Şahinkaya in Ankara.

“I managed to confront those who performed that coup and their followers in the referendum to end political bans in 1987. I did it by winning back the support of the people, who also voted for me to be the prime minister once again in 1991. It was the backing of the people which made me the president of the country in 1993. To oppose a system is not to sue a [94-year-old] man today, but do whatever was possible when it was necessary. And while I was doing that, I had nothing but the support of people. So no offense, but Demirel is already even with the coup both for himself and his people.”

Former President Demirel had been put under house arrest on the morning of the coup on Sept. 12, 1980, before subsequently receiving a 10-year ban from politics.

“This court is in a way a revolutionary one against the coup in 1980 [and asks] those who were responsible about the unlawfulness they did 32 years ago,” he said.

“The coup took my most precious 10 years in which I could serve my country. [The military] took the political power that my people had given to me. They abolished the Parliament and abolished the Constitution.”

But Demirel did not try to hide that he felt offended – and not just because of the coup itself. “Of course, we have to see that 92 percent of my people voted for the constitution which was prepared by the military [rulers] to let them create their own law; are we going to ignore that?” he asked while recalling “those who applauded the coup in their newspaper pages and columns” as well.

There is a lot of injustice in Turkey, too, the former prime minister added. “If you want to bring peace to the country, correct the justice system and bring about fair trials – that is what you have to do.”