World Bulletin / News Desk
Former head of the Higher Education Board (YÖK) Kemal Gürüz, who is wanted by judicial authorities as a suspect in the Feb. 28, 1997 military intervention investigation, returned to Turkey on Sunday.
On Friday, police detained several civilians in relation to the ongoing investigation. Gürüz, one of the suspects, couldn't be detained or summoned to testify as he was abroad.
Gürüz arrived at İzmir's Alsancak Port on a ship on Sunday. In his first statement to the press, he said: “I used the powers vested in me by the law. I never overstepped those. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I don't know what Feb. 28 is.”
Two people were taken into custody and detention warrants were issued for two others on Friday as part of the sixth wave of operations in a deepening investigation into the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military intervention, popularly known as the postmodern coup.
This is the first time civilian figures have been targeted in a Feb. 28 operation.
Earlier this year, prosecutors involved in the Feb. 28 investigation seized documents and correspondence between Gen. Çevik Bir, the general who led the intervention, and Gürüz, strengthening suspicions that the former YÖK head played a major role in the 1997 coup. The documents were relayed to the West Study Group (BÇG), which was established by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to carry out the fight against religious fundamentalism and which kept records of the ideological and religious backgrounds of academics and university students.
A message signed by Bir on July 14, 1998, and sent to Gürüz demands that a new education system be adopted to discourage students from attending religious imam-hatip high schools. The correspondence is believed to suggest the application of a lower coefficient to calculate the university admission examination scores of graduates of vocational high schools, including imam-hatip high schools. The YÖK General Council held a meeting on Aug. 30, almost 45 days after Gürüz received Bir's letter, in which such a coefficient system was discussed. It was subsequently put into practice in 1999. The new system made it virtually impossible for graduates of vocational high schools to attend university.
Gürüz was detained in 2009 as part of the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network accused of being nested within the state bureaucracy and working to overthrow democratically elected governments, but was later released pending trial. An indictment in the Ergenekon case asserted that Gürüz was working to “shape university administrations” both during his term in office at YÖK and after he retired. According to the indictment, Gürüz tried to influence appointments of rectors to universities even after his retirement.
Fresh off winning its vote of confidence, govt spokesman stresses economic growth and ending terrorism, among other goals
Concerned about French security forces' harsh intervention, Turkey calls on officials to avoid using disproportionate force
Elimination of wage differential, glass-ceiling obstacles are requirement for equity, Emine Erdogan says
Mass celebration on anniversary of Ottoman conquest of Istanbul dominates headlines of Turkish dailies Monday
Six people have also been injured in separate Diyarbakir province bomb attack
Turkish general staff reports cross-border artillery, air strikes on ISIL, PKK
Ankara's proposal has one condition, however, which is not to include the PYD and YPG terrorist groups
'Nobody is strong enough to separate us from the lands we claimed after the 1453 conquest,' Turkish president says
Least-developed countries conference is an opportunity for poor countries, says senior Turkish Ambassador Sinirlioglu
Turkey’s Islamabad ambassador says more training will take place across Pakistan soon
Warplanes bomb targets in Iraq's Sinat-Haftanin and Metina regions, Turkish military says
Rocket launchers, armoured vehicles and ammunition depots hit during operation, Turkish military source says
Justice and Development Party deputies carry confidence vote in 550-seat parliament
Protest in Turkish capital remembers 10 victims of 2010 Mavi Marmara aid flotilla incident
The 3-day curfew was imposed in 13 neighborhoods of the province of Mardin to nab PKK extremists
Turkey's leadership in helping least development nations should be emulated, according to senior UN official