World Bulletin / News Desk
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said former Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel was the main actor of the Feb. 28, 1997 coup d'état.
“Demirel had a huge contribution [to the staging of the coup]. He was the main actor of the [coup] process that led to the overthrowing of the Welfare Party [RP] from power,” stated Arınç on Thursday at a panel in Ankara.
Thursday was the 16th anniversary of the latest coup in Turkey's history, which is more commonly referred to as the post-modern coup. A panel, titled “Bin Yıllık Darbe!: 28 Şubat” (A Coup of a 1,000 Years!: Feb. 28), was held by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA). Arınç was the most high-profile participant of the panel. The name of the event was referring to remarks by a general after the staging of the Feb. 28 coup that the impacts of the coup would last for 1,000 years.
On Feb. 28, the powerful military forced a coalition government, led by late Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, to step down, citing alleged rising religious fundamentalism in the country. Erbakan subsequently resigned, and his Welfare Party (RP) was shut down by the courts.
Demirel was the president at that time. He is accused of turning a blind eye to the activities of an illegal group within the military known as the West Study Group (BÇG), which used to categorize politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats according to their religious and ideological backgrounds. As an investigation has been launched into the actors in the Feb. 28 coup, there are calls from society for Demirel to be put on trial for his role in the intervention.
Speaking at the event, Arınç also said he is happy to see that Turkey is discussing and condemning the Feb. 28 coup. “If the Feb. 28 coup is being condemned today, then it seems that Turkey has a brighter future,” he said, adding: “Some said the impact of the coup would last 1,000 years. But it did not happen … We will continue to follow a legal process into the plotters behind Feb. 28. The process may result in the acquittal or punishment of those plotters. We all hope for the process to be concluded to the benefit of Turkey.”
An investigation is under way into the perpetrators of the Feb. 28 coup. Currently there are 72 people under arrest pending trial as part of the investigation.
The deputy prime minister went on to state that members of the government of the Feb. 28 period were expecting a coup because the military was often implying its intention to topple the government. “I was expecting the coup to happen on June 12 . Sixty percent of deputies of the True Path Party [DYP, the partner of the RP in government] fled abroad because they were afraid they would be detained or arrested. As RP deputies, none of us left our country. We told everybody that the police and the military knew where we were living [that they were not afraid of possible legal action against them] and that we were the representatives of the people,” he said.
Also on Thursday, Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER) President Ahmet Faruk Ünsal said Demirel was the “number one to blame for Feb. 28” because he remained inactive although he knew about a pro-coup junta nested within the Turkish military. “Demirel is the number-one guilty player. We do not think Turkey will have confronted the Feb. 28 coup unless Demirel is tried, too,” Ünsal said.Last Mod: 28 Şubat 2013, 17:08