World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkey was shaken on Thursday with the news that former army chief İsmail Hakkı Karadayı had been called to testify to prosecutor Mustafa Bilgili as a suspect in the investigation into the Feb. 28, 1997 coup.
Columnists say they had expected such a move as retired Gen. Çevik Bir had previously pointed to Karadayı and said he knew and approved the coup plans at the time.
Nazlı Ilıcak from Sabah underlines that the prosecutor who called Karadayı to testify was not a specially authorized prosecutor. She writes: "We all know that detention decisions are too easily made or often violations of rights are made while trying individuals in Turkey. Some journalists discovered these flaws in the law with the trials into the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer coup plans, which are overseen by specially authorized courts. And then they declared these courts as scapegoats. What will these journalists, who keep saying specially authorized courts or prosecutors act “illegally,” say about the decision to call Karadayı to testify now?” Ilıcak thinks it is right to seek Karadayı's testimony. If keeping tabs on people and manipulating the media and judiciary are regarded as crimes and if a former deputy chief of General Staff has been detained on charges of these crimes, the then-chief of General Staff should not get away with this, she notes.
Oral Çalışlar from Radikal, on the other hand, writes that although he was one of the victims of the Feb. 28, 1997 coup, he thinks he should still defend the rights of the Feb. 28 coup plotters. Bir and then-General Staff Secretary-General Erol Özkasnak have been jailed for 10 months even though an indictment against them has not yet been prepared. Recalling the “First execute, then try” slogan Çalışlar and his friends would chant in coup periods in protest of the act, the columnist says the same practice is continuing now. “I have always defended the idea that the coup plotters should render their accounts to the judiciary, and I see the trials into coups as a breakthrough in Turkey's democratization process. But we have to carry out these trials in a reasonable and careful way, while watching out for the suspects' basic rights as well as the public's expectations,” he notes.
It is no surprise that Karadayı was called to testify, as jailed generals like Bir have accused him, Bugün's Adem Yavuz Arslan says. Also, in five different voice recordings that were released on the Internet in 2009, Karadayı explicitly talks about how he had a role in the coups of May 27, 1960, Sept. 12, 1980 and Feb. 28, 1997 -- and how he threatened political party heads or manipulated presidents.
Arslan further makes a distinction between the Feb. 28 trial and the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer trials, saying that the trials in the second group progress with the evidence obtained and suspects emerge as more evidence is found. However, in the Feb. 28 trial, the witnesses, victims and actors in the coup are all known, and they will be called to testify one by one. So just as the call for Karadayı's testimony was not surprising, more calls or even detentions may come, he says.
Turkish prime minister says Iraqi city should be run according to earlier population make-up
Turkey-Iran committee chairman speaks about burgeoning bilateral ties and shared regional interests
Foreign ministry responds to findings from Council of Europe inspection report
Opposition Devlet Bahceli calls for capture of leader of Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government
Treaties can only be changed, removed by consent of all signatories, says presidential spokesman for TRNC
Decision taken on advice of Turkey’s National Security Council, says government spokesman
At least 15 percent of Int'l Finance Corporation’s funds to be used for green mortgages, World Bank Group member says
35 on-duty soldiers, including 20 sergeants of Turkish Air Forces, are among detainees
BIST 100 rises slightly while US dollar/Turkish lira rate climbs to 3.66
FETO suspects released after questioning on condition they do not go abroad, check in with the police every week
Ruling AK Party lawmaker Usta criticizes European council PACE for giving human rights prize to Murat Aslan
Central government's budget deficit fell to $1.84B last month, 62 pct down on a yearly basis, says finance minister
CHP Deputy Chairman Ozturk Yilmaz says Turkmen, Arabs and Kurds should be equally represented in Kirkuk
Turkish aircraft loaded with humanitarian aid, medical emergency services staff also arrives in capital Mogadishu
Aid agency head Kerem Kinik condemns bomb attack in Somali capital
BIST 100 index opened Monday 0.31 pct up while the dollar/Turkish lira rate stands at around 3.64