World Bulletin / News Desk
New documents revealing detailed information about civilian collaborators involved in the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military intervention are in the hands of the public prosecutor investigating the coup.
The new documents, which were recently seized and delivered to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, have revealed the civilian leg of the Feb. 28 military coup, popularly known as the postmodern coup due to the non-violent manner in which the government was overthrown. Turkey's government was led by an Islamist-leaning party at the time.
According to a Star daily report, the documents reveal the identity of civilians who collaborated with the West Study Group (BÇG) -- a clandestine organization formed within the military in order to contribute to the staging of the planned coup, which categorized politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats in accordance with their religious and ideological backgrounds -- during the coup era.
The documents include opinions and assessments about the reliability of the civilian collaborators as well as personal information such as their religion, sect, political view, veteran status and ethnicity.
The documents believed to have been written by the BÇG define the collaborators as personnel. The data about "personnel" was classified under identity, personal status and includes other facts discovered about the collaborator as well as special notes made after contact.
The collaborators have been revealed to be from a wide range of professions, including journalists, lawyers, public servants, district governors, construction engineers, intercity bus drivers, importers and hotelkeepers, some public officials from the Ministry of Education, jewelry dealers, typographers, blacksmiths, restaurateurs, insurance agency owners, gallery owners and doctors.
Some documents that reveal the names of nongovernmental organizations or foundations that supported the coup have also been delivered to prosecutor Mustafa Bilgin, who is conducting the investigation. According to the documents, the BÇG kept a blacklist of organizations, foundations, student dormitories, dershanes (private educational institutes) and schools.
The documents also reveal the name of Cumhuriyet daily columnist Ümit Zileli as a civilian collaborator of the coup. The documents include assessments made by the BÇG about Zileli such as the fact that he was a member of the Labor Party and since he had close relations with the former head of the Constitutional Court, Yekta Güngör Özden, he could be very beneficial for the BÇG. Stating that Zileli would do anything for the benefit of the country, the BÇG went on to say that Zileli had always provided reliable and tangible information and could be used in reactionary and missionary activities.
Reportedly at the heart of the Feb. 28 investigation are the actions of the BÇG, which was headed by Gen. Çevik Bir, the deputy chief of General Staff at the time.
On Feb. 28, 1997, an unarmed military intervention that resulted in the fall of the coalition government led by Necmettin Erbakan of the now-defunct Welfare Party (RP) occurred under the leadership of Bir. The Feb. 28 coup introduced a series of harsh restrictions on religious life with an unofficial but widely practiced ban on the use of the Islamic headscarf. The military was purged of members with suspected ties to religious groups.