World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey’s former army chief İsmail Hakkı Karadayı has reportedly been detained as part of an investigation into Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup.
Turkish Hürriyet daily reported on Thursday that retired Gen. Karadayı was detained by police in İstanbul. Lawyer of Karadayı, Erol Aras, told Hürriyet daily that he was told there were police officers in Fenerbahçe Orduevi house but he is not aware of further details.
On Feb. 28, 1997, the Turkish military forced the coalition government, led by the now-defunct conservative Welfare Party (RP), out of power, citing allegedly rising religious fundamentalism in the country. The Feb. 28 coup introduced a series of severe restrictions on religious life, including an unofficial but widely practiced ban on the use of headscarves by women.
The military was also purged of members with suspected ties to religious groups or officers who were simply observant Muslims. In addition, a number of newspapers were closed down based on a National Security Council (MGK) decision calling for closer monitoring of media outlets.
There is an ongoing investigation into the suspected actors behind the coup, with approximately 60 individuals already arrested on coup charges.
Retired Gen. Çevik Bir, who was the second highest-ranking general in the army at the time and detained as part of the Feb. 28 investigation, argued that his then superior -- Karadayı -- knew about the formation of the West Study Group (BÇG) that played a key part in Feb. 28 process and urged that he be questioned in the probe as well.
Bir argued that Karadayı authorized all the decisions as his superior, including the formation of the BÇG given the strict hierarchical nature of the military. The BÇG had been established within the military to categorize politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats according to their religious and ideological backgrounds during the Feb. 28 coup era. Bir, the deputy chief of General Staff at the time, was the head of the BÇG.
Bir asserted that Karadayı gave all the orders and provided Karadayı's voice recordings and statements on the Feb. 28 coup to the court. The complaint letter emphasized that Karadayı was the number one general in charge of everything, while Bir was in charge of executing orders at the military headquarters.
Bir argued that he conducted his activities following the National Security Council (MGK) meeting of Feb. 28, 1997, by order of Karadayı, a process that resulted in the resignation of the elected civilian government led by then Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan. He stated that all the military personnel who are currently jailed acted in accordance with the orders of their superiors in the BÇG.
An arrest warrant for the four was also withdrawn, Gulden Sonmez, a lawyer for the victims, wrote on Twitter after a closed door hearing in Istanbul.
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