Turkey marks anniversary of May 27 coup

Former DP deputy Hakkı Kurmel, who spoke to the media for the first time since the staging of the coup, said the aspirations of the Republican People's Party (CHP) for more political power and privileges led to the May 27 tragedy.

Turkey marks anniversary of May 27 coup

Political figures and witnesses to the coup period have condemned military intervention in politics and voiced expectations for stronger democracy in recognition of the 53rd anniversary of theMa y 27, 1960 military coup.

On May 27, 1960, the military overthrew the government of then-Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. Menderes and his fellow Democrat Party (DP) members were tried in 14 separate cases on Yassıada, an island in the Marmara Sea. The judges overseeing the case handed down 15 death penalties, 12 life sentences and hundreds of long-term prison sentences. Three executions were carried out: Menderes, Foreign Minister Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and Finance Minister Hasan Polatkan were hanged. Celal Bayar, who was president at the time, was among the 15 sentenced to death, but his execution was not carried out because of his advanced age.

Science, Industry and Technology Minister Nihat Ergün said the May 27 coup is the “father of all coups in Turkey” and the “mother of all political evil in the country.”

Turkey witnessed four military coups, in 1960, 1971, 1980 and 1997.

“The 1960 coup caused such great damage to Turkey that it toppled economic, political, military and bureaucratic balances in the country,” the minister added.

Also on Monday, the Civilian Solidarity Platform (SDP), which comprises more than 400 nongovernmental organizations, issued a written statement in which they announced that they had filed a criminal complaint against the stagers of the May 27 coup who reportedly confiscated 70 tons of gold in the aftermath of the coup. “We denounce this anti-nation mindset. We call on the coup stagers to return the 70 tons of gold they stole. We have filed a criminal complaint to this end. We want them to be brought to justice for what they did during the coup period,” read the statement.

Former DP deputy Hakkı Kurmel, who spoke to the media for the first time since the staging of the coup, said the aspirations of the Republican People's Party (CHP) for more political power and privileges led to the May 27 tragedy.

“İsmet İnönü [then-CHP leader] provoked the military to stage a coup to become the country's president. Had İnönü wanted it, the executions [of Menderes and the two ministers] would not have taken place. He did not want to prevent the executions because İnönü hated these three men. He knew that his party would not rise to power unless the DP was overthrown,” he stated.

In 1950, Menderes' DP was swept to power with a crushing victory over the CHP in the parliamentary elections. The elections ushered in an era after which the CHP was unable to return to power on its own. The DP was victorious in elections in 1955 and 1957 as well. Angered by grinding defeats in the past three elections, the CHP started to accuse the ruling party of violating the Constitution and began to provoke the military against the DP government. A failed assassination plot against then-CHP leader İsmet İnönü, also a former prime minister, in the western province of Uşak in 1959 increased the tension between the ruling and opposition parties.

On April 18, 1960, İnönü openly threatened Menderes with a coup d'état, accusing his party of censoring the press, being engaged in acts that would harm the republic and the principles of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic and violating the Constitution. On May 27, the military junta took control of the administration, alleging that the state's secular character was at risk. According to the officers who staged the coup, it was aimed at putting an end to activities against secularism in the country. However, it is widely believed the coup was carried out to restore the administration to its original state, where power was only shared among the elite of the country.

Kurmel was detained after the May 27 coup. He was kept in custody for some time and was later released. However, the coup plotters later arrested him and sent to Yassıada to be tried on treason charges. The coup plotters demanded that he be executed. “In Yassıada, I was subjected to physical and psychological torture. I was about to lose one of my eyes due to physical torture. I was allowed to see my wife only once during the two-and-a-half years I spent on the island,” he stated.

Yassıada was the scene of an unfair trial of a number of politicians and military members detained after the May 27 coup. The detainees were interrogated in unlawful conditions on the island. An investigation was carried out by a team of 31 prosecutors sponsored by the military junta. The investigation and interrogation processes were riddled with human rights violations and unlawful acts, according to the diaries of former Chief of General Staff Gen. Rüştü Erdelhun. The Erdelhun family shared the dairies with the press last year.

“I thought that I would be hanged. I spent the days in grief and fear. All the other detainees in Yassıada experienced the same things. Prosecutors demanded two death penalties for me on the grounds that I was engaged in unconstitutional activities. But I was not engaged in such activities,” Kurmel added.

(Today's Zaman)

Last Mod: 27 Mayıs 2013, 18:04
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