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December 02, 2012, Sunday

The government’s homework

The Coup and Memorandum Investigation Commission, a parliamentary commission set up to investigate military coups in the country, has finally completed its task and presented a report to Parliament last week. The report says it is not impossible for Turkey to witness a new coup. Columnists as well as the commission are making suggestions as to how to avoid another.

Zaman's Mustafa Ünal says the most striking part of the report was the section where the commission presents 20 suggestions to the government to avoid further coups. All the parties represented in Parliament are content with the report, indicating that there is hope that the suggestions might be taken into account.

The first suggestion is to form a new and civilian constitution, which is already under way, though very little progress is being made, Ünal says. The report says: “We more than ever need a constitution prepared by the representatives of the public and that will be free from militarist discourses.” It is odd that even though everyone agrees on this statement, no consensus is being achieved in the process of drafting the new constitution.

Another significant suggestion is to set up a new commission to investigate the period immediately prior to the coups more extensively. After all, although some of the coup plotters are being tried today, light could not yet be shed over many unsolved murders of the past. Güldal Mumcu, the widow of journalist Uğur Mumcu -- killed in a 1993 car bombing -- in her recently released book “İçimden Geçen Zaman” (The Time that Passed Through Me), attempts to shed light on the unsolved murders of the past but ends up running into a wall.

We need a commission specifically set up to probe these incidents and to provide the authorities with access to the state's “cosmic rooms,” Ünal notes. Otherwise, we will end up trying coup plotters only, but we won't be safe from further coup attempts. For that, we have to get rid of the mechanisms within the state that feed the coups.

Mahmut Övür from the Sabah daily focuses on Mumcu's new book, in which she writes that what made coups possible was the animosity and clashes between political groups, specifically secular and anti-secular groups. She said that the deep state plotted murders of secular intellectuals but put the blame on Islamic groups. Hearing this from Mumcu, who is also from the leftist circle, is a good example of a confrontation with the past. We need more of these confrontations and the realization of the precautions the commission report proposed to the government in order to avoid the risk of another coup in the future, Övür notes.

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