16 April 2014, Wednesday
Today's Zaman

29 actors of Feb. 28 postmodern coup detained in police operations

12 April 2012, Thursday /FAZLI MERT
Twenty-nine retired military officers including retired Gen. Çevik Bir, who is known to have played a major role in the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military intervention, were detained on Thursday as police raided dozens of premises in three provinces as part of an investigation into the 1997 coup.

The intervention is often referred to as a “postmodern” coup d'état due to the fact that as bloodless as it was, it was able to bring down a government. Turkey's government was led by an Islamist-leaning party at the time.

In major operations conducted in several cities, 29 retired officers who staged the Feb. 28, 1997 military coup were detained and two others were declared wanted. The operations were carried out as part of the prosecutors’ most recent actions in the current investigations of Turkey’s past coups

Most of the addresses searched are homes of former military officers who played a major role in the postmodern coup. Among the homes searched by police are the houses of retired Gen. Bir and retired generals Abdullah Kılıçarslan and İdris Koralp.

Reports said that on Thursday morning detention warrants were issued for 31 retired military officers, including Bir. The state-run Anatolia news agency said that later in the day Bir was detained. Police are searching 31 premises in İstanbul, Ankara and Çanakkale. Bir is best remembered for describing the intervention as a “fine tuning of Turkey's democracy.” Police searched his house at the War Academies residential complex in İstanbul on Thursday.

His “fine-tuning” comments came after army tanks rolled down the streets of Ankara’s Sincan province following the staging of a religious play by a Welfare Party (RP) mayor.

Specially Authorized Prosecutor Mustafa Bilgili is conducting the investigation into the actions of generals of the time, including then-Chief of General Staff Gen. İsmail Hakkı Karadayı, National Security Council (MGK) Secretary-General Gen. Tuncer Kılınç and former Land Forces Commander Gen. Erdal Ceylanoğlu. These officers, who have all since retired, are all suspects in the investigation.

Nine retired officers were detained in İstanbul. These are ret. Gen Bir, ret. Gen. İdris Koralp, ret Gen. Ünal Akbulut, ret. Col. Yüksel Sönmez, ret. Maj. Salih Eryiğit, ret. Cptn. Mustafa Babacan, ret. Sgt. Necdet Batıran, ret. Cptn. Orhan Nalcıoğlu and ret. Col. Albay Aydın Karaşahin. Two retired colonels – Eser Şahan and Cengiz Çetinkaya – couldn’t be detained as both are out of the country.

Retired Gen. Akbulut was earlier detained and released as a suspect in the ongoing investigation into Sledgehammer, an attempted coup d’état.

In Ankara, ret. Gen. Abdullah Kılıçarslan. retired colonels Hüsnü Dağ,  Oğuz Kalelioğlu,   Sezai Kürşat Ökte,  Ahmet Nazmi Solmaz, Mustafa Kemal Savcı, İbrahim Selman Yazıcı, Ziya Batur, Ruşen Bozkurt Mehmet Şinasi, Abdurrahman Yavuz Gürcüoğlu, İsrafil Aydın, Yahya Cem Özarslan and Serdar Çelebi, ret. Sgt. Hamza Özaltun, ret. Maj. Ahmet Aka and ret. NGO Ahmet Tarık Yelkenci. In Niğdge, ret. Col. Ümit Şahintürk and ret. Col. Alican Türk in Eskişehir were also detained.

The probe was launched in November 2011 after hundreds of complaints were filed by plaintiffs from different provinces across Turkey. Most plaintiffs are individuals who say they were victimized by the Feb. 28 intervention.

On Feb. 28, 1997, an unarmed military intervention that resulted in the fall of the coalition government led by Necmettin Erbakan of the now-defunct Welfare Party (RP) occurred under the leadership of Gen. Bir. In reference to the coup attempt, which was termed a “soft coup,” Gen. Bir has said on several occasions that they “made a balance check for democracy.”

Bir is also the mastermind behind a 1998 memorandum that targeted several journalists and institutions with the intent to intimidate and cause them to lose their jobs.

Reportedly at the heart of the Feb. 28 investigation are the actions of the West Study Group (BÇG), which was established within the military to categorize politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats according to their religious and ideological backgrounds during the coup process. Bir, the deputy chief of General Staff of the time, was the head of the BÇG.

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 closer monitoring of media outlets. However, none of the military figures who had a hand in overthrowing the Welfare Party (RP) government have stood trial.

Commenting on the investigation on Thursday, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said the probe is a part of “Turkey’s efforts to prevent any suspension of democracy.”

However, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was critical of the investigation. “You cannot seek justice with feelings of revenge. If you seek justice with feelings of revenge, there cannot be justice there,” he said, accusing the government of seeking revenge for the coup.

Some of the retired military officers detained on Thursday have been in the spotlight before. Ret. Gen. Abdullah Kılıçarslan, who worked closely with Gen. Bir during the Feb. 28, 1997 intervention, testified in the Sledgehammer coup investigation last year. He retired from the military in 2006 and later ran in the parliamentary elections as a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) candidate. Retired Col. Sezai Kürşat Ökte is implicated in the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine network accused of attempting to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development  Party government.

Thanks to Specially Authorized Prosecutor Mustafa Bilgili and Turkish justice for this investigation. Each member of this society has to learn that the balance adjustment for democracy is not the expected duty of military executives and no one can use this argument to fulfill the demand of some elit...
I see the day Mr Erdogan will be put on trial for denying millions of Kurdish children the right and the freedom to be educated in their mother tongue. This denial is in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Turkey is a signatory.
"He said: "Whoever doth wrong, him shall we punish; then shall he be sent back to his Lord; and He will punish him with a punishment unheard-of (before)" (The Wise Qur'an 18:87). Thus, Allah strengthens the heart of the ordinary believers by making horrible examples out of His enenies in this world ...
Naser Chowdhury
General Cevik Bir is a very distinguished soldier who has given distinguished service not only to Turkey but the the UN in places like Somalia. He was awarded medals of merit from several countries including Britain, the US, France and others. During 1997, he was in Belgium and Washington and prob...
These Generals are the ones who set Turkey back 15 years. By now Turkey would have united all the Turkic world in the for of the Turkic Islamic Union and have been a world player.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu says of the investigation. “You cannot seek justice with feelings of revenge. If you seek justice with feelings of revenge, there cannot be justice there,” Why doesn't he allow the courts to get on and do their job. Why does Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu look for faults with the courts when ...
Click here to read all user comments
NATIONAL  Other Titles
Erdoğan threatens judges, prosecutors in party group speech
Opposition leaders say PM turning Turkey into intelligence state
Opposition CHP leader likens Erdoğan to Hitler, Mussolini
Nearly 90 police officials purged in southeast Turkey
Nearly 280 police officers reassigned in four provinces
Twitter executives meet with Turkey's President Gül
Two officers arrested over Adana trucks released
AFAD: Number of Syrian refugees in Turkey tops 900,000
Bahçeli criticizes PM's attack on Constitutional Court
Murder suspect attempts suicide in prison
Homosexual prisoners in Turkey segregated for ‘protection': minister
AK Party politician sparks hatred against Hizmet movement
Reactions mount against ban on publication of ‘Risale-i Nur'
Prosecutor who stopped MİT trucks, two others reassigned
Ministry issues traffic tickets to 125 Gezi protesters in Çanakkale
Turkish gov't rules out May 1 rallies in İstanbul's Taksim Square
Turkish military says PKK kidnapped three workers
55 students from 30 countries captivate İzmir residents with poems of praise
HDP co-chair says MİT law only protects intelligence agency
Turkish Olympiad in Chicago held with impressive event
President's Office denies reports of Gül-Erdoğan meeting over presidential election
New paper unexpectedly shuts down, employees protest
Retirement no hindrance to good works for 12 Karabük men
Survey shows Black Sea province's people are happiest
Pro-gov't columnist resigns in protest of newspaper's deceit