In the past, the military would write a letter and deliver it to the president by hand. The president would summon elected officials, scold them and then present the memorandum. Coup plotters adapted to the Internet age and attempted to make a statement over the Internet. What made April 27 different from previous interventions was not the way in which it was executed. It was the reaction from the public and the government's counter memorandum, which helped break former patterns.
First, let's briefly look at how this pattern formed. It was 1961 and a year-and-a-half had gone by since the coup. Three parties that were followers of Democratic Party (DP) had won in the elections held three weeks after the execution of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. While the junta-backed Republican People's Party (CHP) became the minority with 177 seats, the Justice Party (AP), the Republican Peasants Nation Party (CKMP) and the New Turkey Party (YTP) won 62 percent of votes and 277 seats collectively, becoming the winners at the elections. Subsequently, the new junta in the army the Armed Forces Union (SKB) said it did not recognize the elections and declared it would stage another coup. The intention of a coup was recorded in the Mürted protocols that were signed in Ankara and İstanbul on Oct. 21. On Oct. 24, a day before the declared coup date, political party leaders met with military personnel at the Çankaya presidential palace and signed a protocol stating, "The prisoners at Yassıada will not be granted amnesty, the 7,200 military officers, in other words members of the Retired Revolution Military Officers Association, who were discharged from the military after May 27, will not be taken back into the army and Cemal Gürsel will be elected as president." While the Constitution, which we were convinced was the "most liberal" constitution, was in force and the interim regime appeared to be over, we experienced another coup.
Let's not forget March 12, which is the first thing that comes to mind when one says memorandum. Chief of General Staff Gen. Memduh Tağmaç defeated the coup staged on March 9 and forced all junta members aside from the generals to retire, then three days later he released his own memorandum. The text that was given to President Cevdet Sunay and read on the radio at 1 p.m. reached its target. The government resigned, an interim government cabinet was established and another layer of tutelary paint was added to the Constitution. The memorandum was read in Parliament and no one other than Hasan Korkmazcan from the AP opposed it. The phrase, "I'm taking my hat and leaving," was added to our political vernacular thanks to Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel. To top it all off, many organizations with the word "revolutionary" in their title, like the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Unions (DİSK), gave support to the coup because they saw the signatures of Air Forces Commander Gen. Muhsin Batur and Land Forces Commander Gen. Faruk Gürler, who sold out the March 9 junta at the last moment, and thought it was a leftist coup.
There is another memorandum that went unnoticed in the shadow of the Sept. 12 memorandum. On Dec. 27, 1979 a letter of warning signed by Chief of General Staff Gen. Kenan Evren and force commanders was given to the president. President Fahri Korutürk summoned the leaders of the two biggest political parties, Demirel and Bülent Ecevit, to the presidential palace and delivered the memorandum to them. Other parties were informed of the memorandum by letter. The military realized that neither the ruling party nor the opposition was taking the memorandum personally so they had the memorandum leaked to the Hürriyet daily through Cüneyt Arcayürek. Prime Minister Demirel, who had received a vote of confidence just two months prior, dismissed the memorandum saying, "We are new, the memorandum is not addressing us." But the opposition continued to point to the government. Politicians tried to circumvent the memorandum by looking away and going about their own business.
Now let's turn to the last memorandum. The April 27 e-memorandum was based on two main themes: to influence the presidential elections and to highlight the disturbance with Blessed Birth Week festivities. The next day the government softened the mood by stating, "The chief of General Staff is responsible to the prime minister in the exercise of his duties and powers." Many journalists that had commented on the matter quickly floundered. Civil society stood by the government. The public responded to the developments in the July 22 elections. Those who managed to survive that day are still standing while those who went weak at the knees have disappeared.