Panel to probe US role in Turkey’s army coups

Panel to probe US role in Turkey’s army coups

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Panel to probe US role in Turkey’s army coups

The members of a parliamentary commission tasked with investigating military interventions are seen during a session. AA photo

The parliamentary commission tasked with investigating military interventions has decided to look into the role of the United States in the 1980 coup and examine a series of assassinations that preceded the overthrow of the government, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

At its meeting on May 16, the commission agreed also to decide next week whether to heed suggestions to hear the accounts of political veterans such as Süleyman Demirel, Deniz Baykal and Hüsamettin Cindoruk. It is a widespread conviction that Washington approved of and backed the military coup of Sept. 12, 1980, wary of Turkey’s militant leftist movement at a time of Cold War jitters. In a memorable quote announcing the coup, senior White House official Paul Henze has said he told then President Jimmy Carter, “Our boys did it!”

The commission will start its inquiry from the deadly events that paved the way for the coup, including the killing of 34 people on May Day 1977 in Istanbul, and the massacres of Alevis in Çorum and Kahramanmaraş as well as the assassinations of journalist Abdi İpekçi by Mehmet Ali Ağca, nationalist politician Gün Sazak, trade union leader Kemal Türkler and police chief Cevat Yurdakul.

The commission is planning to examine relevant documents from the archives of the General Staff, the police and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and if necessary, hear the accounts of military officials who were on duty at the time. It will also look into the publications of leftist and rightist movements at the time, and if necessary meet with their surviving leaders.

Snags at charter panel

Separately, the Daily News has learned that Parliament’s cross-party constitution-making commission has failed to agree on 20 out of 41 articles in the “rights and freedoms” chapter, the first topic that the panel took up since it began to draft the text earlier this month.

The contentious articles are expected to be discussed again today. At their meeting on May 16, the members of the related sub-group failed to agree on the wording of some crucial points such as whether to use the term “Turkish citizenship” or “citizenship of Turkey.” There was no agreement either on demands by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to acknowledge the right to conscientious objection to military service, the right to use mother tongues and identity rights. Other discords pertained to animal rights, the right of access to food and clean water and the right to preserve historical and cultural heritage.

The points on which the parties agreed included the acknowledgement of the right to protection from poverty, the right to asylum, the right to natural life and environment, a ban on discrimination that would cover children, hate crimes and minorities, and the freedom of organization.