Turkish parties try to get over era of coups

Turkish parties try to get over era of coups

ANKARA / ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish parties try to get over era of coups

PM Erdoğan slams support given to the military during the Feb 28 process. DAILY NEWS photo

Turkey’s political parties have united to back a probe into the “post-modern coup” of 1997, but the opposition has questioned the nature of the investigation amid hints by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the probe could expand.

Time will show where this [probe] will lead,” Erdoğan said yesterday while lamenting the tribulations of those affected in 1997.

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu lent support to the probe but expressed misgivings that the judiciary had become a government tool.

“One cannot expect justice from a judiciary which has collapsed and submitted itself to government control,” he said.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) welcomed the investigation but asked why the government was mum on the military’s “e-memorandum” of 2007, after which Erdoğan and Turkey’s top soldier allegedly conducted secret bargaining.

The opposition’s skepticism was echoed by Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. “When you only settle scores with the coup plotters, you consolidate your own power. But if you settle scores with the entire coup mentality and culture, you strengthen democracy.”


A probe into the “post-modern coup” of 1997 could soon be expanded, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signaled yesterday, suggesting that his own conviction at the time was the result of military orders.

“Why did they lock up a mayor for reciting a poem? The orders came from them [the military]. Time will show where this [probe] will lead,” Erdoğan said in a parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In 1998, Erdoğan, then mayor of Istanbul, was sentenced for religious sedition over a poem with Islamist connotations that he had recited at a political rally. He served four months in jail.

The conviction came less than a year after then-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan resigned under the pressure of a secularist campaign led by the military known as the “post-modern coup.”

Erdoğan slammed the support that much of the mainstream media, judiciary and civic groups gave the army during the time of the coup. “We clenched our fists and bit our lips. We prayed for patience and hoped that Allah would be with the oppressed,” Erdoğan said.

“We endured the broadcasts that insulted our faith, fanned provocations and splattered scum on the people from the screens. We endured the justice system of those who gave 10-minute standing ovations to briefings [by the military] and issued lightning rulings against us. We showed patience to the hypocrites who saluted the military under the guise of nongovernmental groups,” he said. “And today is the day when the curses of the oppressed are taking effect and justice is prevailing. God willing, Turkey will never again go through such dark periods and democracy will never be suspended.”

Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, meanwhile, cautioned against feeling of “revenge” and described the investigation as a “test for the country.”