Ruling party opts to skip ‘e-memo’ in coup inquiry

Ruling party opts to skip ‘e-memo’ in coup inquiry

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Ruling party opts to skip ‘e-memo’ in coup inquiry

Members of a parliamentary commission tasked with probing military interventions hold a meeting in Parliament. AA photo

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has quashed suggestions that the so-called “e-memorandum” of 2007 be designated among the issues of inquiry for a parliamentary commission tasked with probing military interventions, the Daily News has learned.

At its meeting yesterday, the Commission set up three sub-groups to look into the military coups of 1960, 1971 and 1980, as well as the “post-modern coup” of 1997, while rejecting – with AKP votes – the creation of a similar group for the “e-memorandum,” the army’s controversial statement on April 27, 2007.

The statement, in which the military threatened to step in to protect Turkey’s secular system, was published online hours after Parliament held an inconclusive, first-round vote to elect a new president, with Abdullah Gül standing as the sole candidate. It was the first episode in a chain of events that eventually blocked Gül’s elections and prompted snap parliamentary polls. The AKP won comfortably and the new Parliament elected Gül in August that year.

The fact that retired chief of staff Yaşar Büyükanıt, who penned the warning, has ducked investigation so far has fanned speculation that he is enjoying protection under a secret deal with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Some have even suggested that the “e-memorandum” was a sham aimed at portraying the AKP as a victim and boosting its popular support.

The Commission’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) members, Ali Rıza Öztürk and Ahmet Topbaş, argued that the issue should be investigated because it triggered developments that transformed Turkey, calling the statement a “disinformation memorandum.”

“It was a failed initiative. And it got the necessary response from the government at the time,” AKP deputy Naci Bostancı responded.

Commission chairwoman Nimet Baş, also an AKP member, argued that the “e-memorandum” was outside the scope of the panel’s mandate and suggested that one of the sub-groups could take it up “if necessary.”

Meanwhile, the AKP’s Şirin Ünal voiced regret that he had been quoted as saying at the panel’s previous meeting that politicians also have some responsibility for coups. “Military coups are unacceptable, regardless of their reasons,” Şirin, a retired general, said.