Four civil servants summoned to testify as part of Feb. 28 probe
Prosecutors have summoned four civil servants from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to testify as part of a probe into a military intervention in politics in 1997, known as the Feb. 28 post-modern coup.
The civil servants were among the attendees at West Study Group (BÇG) meetings that were held by the General Staff to brief judges and prosecutors on “reactionaryism” during the Feb. 28 process, as a result of which a democratically elected government was toppled.
The Ankara deputy chief prosecutor's office is conducting the probe due to criminal complaints filed against the perpetrators of the Feb. 28 intervention.
Specially Authorized Public Prosecutor Mustafa Bilgili, who is overseeing the investigation into the Feb. 28 coup, summoned the four TSK civil servants by sending a petition to the General Staff. The civil servants who attended the meetings were summoned to testify as “witnesses.”
Bilgili is also expected to take the testimony of the top military officers of the time, including the former Chief of General Staff retired Gen. İsmail Hakkı Karadayı, retired Gen. Çevik Bir and others, if he deems it necessary.
In the meantime, Ankara Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Hüseyin Görüşen on Wednesday dismissed claims that investigations have been launched into some members of the judiciary who attended the briefings of the General Staff during the Feb. 28 military intervention process.
The TSK issued a memorandum on Feb. 28, 1997, strongly criticizing the government led by the Islamist Welfare Party (RP) and claimed that the government failed to take the necessary measures to fight what the army called reactionaryism. Following threats by the General Staff, the government resigned several months later. The decisions that were taken at the MGK meeting on Feb. 28 and signed by Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan were interpreted as a tarnishing of the essence of democracy by the military.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that not only the BÇG, which directed the Feb. 28 process, but also Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) kept secret files on a large number of high-ranking officials and authorities categorizing them as pro-reactionarysm during the Feb. 28 process.
According to a book authored by journalist Aslan Değirmenci concerning the Feb. 28 process, MİT blacklisted 2,639 public officials including those working at the Prime Ministry, ministries and high judiciary, during the Feb. 28 process.
The book, titled “Belgeleriyle 28 Şubat'ın Çözülen Kodları” (Deciphered Codes of Feb. 28 with Documents), will hit bookshelves today.
According to this book, the MİT dossier on the blacklisted public officials was submitted to the head of MİT on Feb. 10, 2000.
The Feb. 28 coup introduced a series of harsh restrictions on religious life, with an unofficial but widely practiced ban on the use of the Islamic headscarf. The military was purged of members with suspected ties to religious groups. In addition, a number of newspapers were closed down after the coup based on an MGK decision that required the monitoring of press organs. However, none of the military figures who had a hand in overthrowing the RP government have stood trial.