Turkish Parliament quashes results of 1960 coup trial

Turkish Parliament quashes results of 1960 coup trial

Turkish Parliament quashes results of 1960 coup trial

Turkey’s Parliament ratified a bill on June 23 that declares the legal grounds for the 1960 trial and execution of the nation’s premier and two cabinet members null and void. 

All parties represented in parliament voiced support for the bill which was introduced by Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop last week. 

“Our parliament, as the voice of our people’s conscience, has removed the presence of the verdicts of the so-called court on Yassıada,” Şentop said on Twitter after the lawmakers approved the bill late June 23, referring to the island where the politicians stood the trials.  

Şentop thanked to all the parliamentarians who were present at the General Assembly and voted in favor of the bill.
Following a coup in 1960, the military junta abolished the ruling Democrat Party and many of its leaders, including then Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, were brought to trial on Yassıada Island in the Marmara Sea on charges of corruption, violation of the constitution and treason. 

As a result of the tribunals, Menderes, Foreign Minister Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and Finance Minister Hasan Polatkan were executed in late 1961. 

Şentop said the coup-era court had overstepped its power and violated fundamental rights and freedoms and the parliamentary vote has “removed the stain on Turkish democracy.” 

Engin Altay, the deputy parliamentary group leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), described the 1960 coup d’état was the “worst thing done” against the Turkish people during the deliberations at the General Assembly.

“I have always said that the May 27 coup is the mother of all the coup d’états that happened in Turkey. Had May 27 coup not happened, coups on March 12 [1971], Sept. 12 [1980], Feb. 28 [1997], April 27 [2007] and July 15 [2015] would not happen either,” he stressed, referring to military interventions and failed coup attempts in the near Turkish history.

Yassıada, one of the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara to the southeast of Istanbul, was renamed Democracy and Freedoms Island in 2013.

Last month, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan inaugurated Democracy and Freedoms Island to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the country’s first-ever military coup on May 27, 1960.

“In fact, it was not a trial but the murder of law by those who violated the constitution by orchestrating a coup and accusing the country’s legitimate rulers of violating the constitution,” said Erdoğan.

Under the bill, the criminal and archive records of the coup trial victims will be expunged by the Justice Ministry. The bill also paves the way for compensation for damages suffered by the coup trial victims.