There is also no match for the proverb “Revenge is a dish best served cold” in Oriental societies, which describes carefully planning for the prefect revenge, no matter how long it takes, and hitting opponents when they least expect it.
The voice recording of a general under arrest in prison, the contents of which were published last week in the papers, reflects the characteristics of revengeful sentiments peculiar to Turkish society. The general, who was placed under arrest in connection with a coup attempt, said in the recording that he would take revenge. Likewise, similar statements by another jailed general show that this sentiment is widespread among the military servicemen who are currently being prosecuted.
The general talks about taking revenge by provoking internal strife in Turkey and triggering an economic crisis. He further says his acts of revenge will be inflicted on those who carried out the trial, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and even their children. He says, “We will make them suffer from hunger.”
These are not irrational statements out of anger and rage. Apparently a team of lawyers in the General Staff has been working on a draft bill that would ensure their release from prison. The general adds, “We will soon be out.” It is argued that this draft bill will be sent to Parliament under the Ministry of Defense’s name and that all military servicemen currently in jail will be released.
Will this happen? It will if the pro-coup figures find an opportunity. What if they do? Take the May 27, 1960 coup as an example. After the coup, a 37-member junta mistreated the civilian administrators and military figures who previously opposed them. The memoirs of Rüştü Erdelhun, who served as chief of General Staff back then, being published by the Zaman daily provide the best example of this. The coup was planned and perpetrated as an act of an organized criminal group. And organized clandestine groups do not consider the law as a restriction once they find an opportunity. The coup makers act like members of a gang. Those who initiated the coup took revenge on the members of the government that they toppled. The acts of revenge include a prostate exam given to Prime Minister Adnan Menderes the night before his execution. The day he was brought to the trial, Erdelhun’s friends asked him about the physical violence he suffered.
If the people do not have the power, the abuse cannot be prevented. The internal strife that the general in the voice recording referred to is a Turkish-Kurdish clash. The documents in the files of the Balyoz and Ergenekon cases explain the logic of this style of revenge. If the people were provoked into a clash, the grounds for a coup would be laid. There are two major spheres of the clash: Turkish-Kurdish and Sunni-Alevi conflicts. The drafters of the coup plans study the provocations that would initiate these clashes.
These are baseless and unreasonable statements. The coup plotters were arrested and prosecuted. The grounds on which the plans of revenge could be implemented no longer exist in Turkey. Besides, society has changed a lot. In the past, the military was the best trained and well-equipped group in Turkey. Today, the elites of Turkey have a background in the private sector consistent with the competitive conditions of a market society.