Commission may listen to ex-President Demirel about two coups

Commission has decided to ask the General Staff and the National Intelligence Organization to submit confidential documents and official correspondence pertaining to the 1980 coup.

Commission may listen to ex-President Demirel about two coups

World Bulletin / News Desk

The head of a parliamentary commission set up to investigate coups that resulted in the overthrow of elected governments in Turkey may talk to former President Süleyman Demirel about the Sept. 12, 1980 and Feb. 28, 1997 coups.

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) İstanbul deputy Nimet Baş, who is the head of the commission, said Demirel will not be interrogated by the commission but may testify as a witness to the two coups. “We need to listen to his [Demirel's] opinion about the coups. However, the commission is yet to make a decision on this,” she told reporters on Thursday. Demirel served as the prime minister at the time of the 1980 coup and as president during the 1997 coup.

Baş said the former president would not be invited to Parliament to tell the commission about the two coups, but members from the commission may visit him at his home. “That would be more polite. Our commission is not investigating individuals. We are conducting a study about the coups. Commission members may visit Demirel [at his home],” Baş noted.

The commission decided last week to establish three sub-commissions to investigate the May 27, 1960; March 12, 1971; Sept. 12, 1980; and Feb. 28, 1997 coups. The sub-commissions will also investigate the April 27, 2007 e-memorandum in which the General Staff threatened “action” if the AK Party government did not do more to preserve the republic's secular tradition. The e-memorandum came amid a political crisis to elect the country's president.

Demirel is often accused of turning a blind eye to the activities of an illegal group within the military known as the West Study Group (BÇG) during the Feb. 28, 1997 coup period. The BÇG used to categorize politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats according to their religious and ideological backgrounds. Because an investigation is under way into the participants of the Feb. 28 coup, there is mounting pressure for Demirel to be put on trial for his role in the coup.

Parliament to ask General Staff, MİT to send it coup documents

In addition, the commission has decided to ask the General Staff and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to submit confidential documents and official correspondence pertaining to the 1980 coup.

The documents and correspondence will enable the commission to determine whether the General Staff or MİT had any role in such bloody events as May Day in Taksim Square in 1977, which claimed the lives of 36 people; the killings of 57 people in predominantly Alevi neighborhoods in Çorum in 1980; the 1978 Maraş massacre in which 111 Alevis died and thousands were wounded in so-called “Alevi-Sunni clashes.” Suspicions were raised that the General Staff and MİT played a key role in plotting the incidents in efforts to spark social unrest in preparation for the Sept. 12, 1980 coup d'état.

Should the General Staff and MİT submit the documents to Parliament, a sub-commission set up under the leadership of AK Party Amasya deputy Naci Bostancı will examine the contents. The sub-commission will also investigate the murders of prominent figures, including journalist Abdi İpekçi, union leader Kemal Türkler, Police Chief Cevat Yurdakul, Prosecutor Doğan Öz and Minister Gün Sazak.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Mayıs 2012, 16:36

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