A parliamentary commission set up to investigate coups that resulted in the overthrow of elected governments in Turkey has decided to establish three sub-commissions for the investigation of the May 27, 1960; March 12, 1971; Sept. 12, 1980; and Feb. 28, 1997 coups; however, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) say a fourth sub-commission should be set up to investigate the April 27, 2007 e-memorandum.
The e-memorandum came amid a political crisis over the election of the country's president. In the document, the General Staff threatened “action” if the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government did not do more to preserve the republic's secular tradition. Many say the General Staff had hoped to unseat the government with the e-memo. Former Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt declared in 2010 that he had penned the statement.
One of the three sub-commissions will investigate the May 27, 1960 and March 12, 1971 coups, while the investigation of the Sept. 12, 1980 and Feb. 28, 1997 coups will be split between the remaining two.
The parliamentary commission investigating the coups held its second meeting on Thursday. CHP deputies Ahmet Topbaş and Ali İhsan Öztürk voiced the necessity for a sub-commission to investigate the e-memorandum, saying all actions aimed at hampering democracy in Turkey need to be investigated. MHP deputy Atilla Kaya agreed, saying the commission should investigate the e-memorandum. Naci Bostancı of the AK Party, however, opposed the idea, saying the government “gave the most appropriate response” to the e-memorandum at the time. “It [the e-memorandum] did not have a negative impact [on Turkey] like the coups,” he added.
The e-memorandum mainly targeted the AK Party after its decision to nominate then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, whose wife wears a headscarf, as a presidential candidate. The military believed that a headscarf-wearing first lady would threaten the secular order in Turkey. The AK Party government gave what many people called a courageous response to the statement, telling the military it was an institution at the command of the government.