Turkish PM invited to testify at Parliament coup panel

Turkish PM invited to testify at Parliament coup panel

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM invited to testify at Parliament coup panel

The Coups and Military Memorandums Inquiry Commission recently heard Former Chief Of Gen Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt (C) in Dolmabahçe Palace. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

A parliamentary panel established to look into military coups and memorandums has invited Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to testify about the 1997 post-modern military coup, the 2007 “e-memorandum” and the much-speculated Dolmabahçe meeting of 2007.

İdris Şahin, the spokesperson of Parliament’s Coups and Military Memorandums Inquiry Commission, said yesterday that some members of the panel had requested to hear the prime minister even though the body ceased hearing witnesses on Nov. 10. “The commission decided to ask Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s opinion about the coups,” he said.

Commission chair Nimet Baş from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will contact Erdoğan and ask him to decide whether his testimony will be verbal or written. Erdoğan also has the right to refuse to testify before the commission.

The commission’s invitation to Erdoğan came after commission members from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) insisted that the premier should be heard.
A commission member from the CHP, Mehmet Şeker, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday that they preferred a face-to-face meeting with Erdoğan, vowing that they would ask him about the so-called Dolmabahçe meeting.

Erdoğan held a closed meeting with the then-chief of the General Staff, Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt, at the historical Dolmabahçe Palace – where Erdoğan has an office – on May 4, 2007, only seven days after the “e-memorandum.”

The “e-memorandum,” posted on the military’s website around midnight on April 27, 2007, was the first episode in a chain of events that plunged Turkey into political turmoil and forced early elections. In the statement, the army threatened to step in to protect Turkey’s secular system, hours later Parliament held an inconclusive, first-round vote to elect a new president; at the time, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül was the sole candidate.

Erdoğan previously said the “Dolmabahçe meeting” would be kept secret by both sides “until the apocalypse.” Şeker, for his part, said light should be shed on the Dolmabahçe meeting.
“There should be no secret that is kept until the apocalypse. What did they discuss at that meeting? The prime minister should disclose it,” Şeker said.