Probe launched into alleged civilian leg of Feb. 28 coup
ANKARAAn Ankara prosecutor has launched a probe against a number of businessmen, including the Honorary President of Doğan Holding, Aydın Doğan, over their alleged relations with a secret military group and economic benefits they received during the Feb. 28, 1997 era.
The judicial action comes just days after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the Doğan Group and its mass-circulation daily Hürriyet over its recent headlines.
It has since been revealed that the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office Bureau for Crimes against the Constitutional Order sent a six-article document to the Police Department’s Counterterrorism Unit (TEM) on May 18.
The prosecutor demanded access to a list of public tenders that these businessmen won from 1996 to 1999, on suspicion that some of them collaborated with the military in forcing the democratically elected ruling Welfare Party to leave the government, in what is often referred to as a “post-modern coup.” The prosecutor’s office also requested information on these businessmen’s relations with the West Working Group (BÇG), a clandestine group formed within the army to monitor the government, as well as some media outlets and unions.
A similar probe was launched in 2011 to investigate the “civilian links” of the coup but it failed to yield results. With the latest move, the judicial process has been revitalized.
The prosecutor’s demand includes tenders and privatizations won by the former owner of daily Posta, Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ, the owner of dailies Hürriyet, Milliyet and broadcaster Kanal D, Aydın Doğan, and the relationship of both men with the BÇG.
The former owner of dailies Sabah, Yeni Yüzyıl, and broadcaster ATV, Dinç Bilgin, and the former owner of Show TV, Erol Aksoy, are also among names to be probed for their alleged relations with the BÇG.
The former heads of certain business associations and trade unions are also on the prosecutor’s list, including the former head of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).