‘Counter-statement against e-memo made government stronger’

‘Counter-statement against e-memo made government stronger’

Deputy PM Arınç said his party did not bow its head before military pressure. (Photo: AA)

April 27, 2012, Friday/ 17:54:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said on Friday that a counter-statement by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) against the military following a military memorandum on April 27, 2007 rendered the government stronger for it did not bow its head before military pressure.

Arınç said the government acted courageously following the April 27 memorandum, which was released during the presidential election process in 2007 because the AK Party nominated then Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül for presidency, over whose secular credentials the military had doubts.

Friday marked the fifth anniversary of the release of the memorandum. “We did two things. The AK Party group made a constitutional amendment [for the election of the president by a popular vote.] That amendment was approved in a referendum. We would hold the general elections in November of that year. Since the Parliament was deadlocked, we held elections in July. The True Path Party [DYP] and Motherland Party [ANAP], which did not allow us to elect a president, became history.

We acted courageously. Our second courageous move was our response against the military’s memorandum. It was a courageous and determined decision. This decision rendered our government strong. We saw that the masterminds of the memorandum were at loss while the AK Party came out stronger from the elections,” said Arınç.

Published online at close to midnight on April 27, the statement said the military was following the debate over secularism in the presidential election with “concern” and would “openly display its position and attitude when it becomes necessary.”

In its response on April 28, the government stressed that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) were an institution at the command of the government. “It is regrettable that there were utterly incorrect statements about the relationship between the government and the General Staff. All of our state institutions should be more sensitive and more careful,” the government said.

When asked whether he expects the judicial process to begin against the masterminds of the April 27 memorandum, Arınç said, “If there are any complaints about the April 27 memorandum, I cannot remember now but there must be, if prosecutors find a criminal offense in accordance with the Constitution and Turkish Penal Code, they will certainly launch a legal process.”

In February, the Ankara Specially Authorized Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the April 27 memorandum upon receiving dozens of complaints about the statement from throughout Turkey. The office compiled all the complaints in Ankara. The prosecutor overseeing the probe is Specially Authorized Prosecutor Kemal Çetin, who is also conducting an ongoing investigation into the Sept. 12, 1980 coup d’état, the two surviving leaders of which were brought to trial in early April in a landmark move.

President Abdullah Gül who was on a visit to Çanakkale on Friday was also asked about the April 27 memorandum which was released during his run for presidency.

Gül said April 27 was the most recent military intervention and a part of Turkey’s political history. The president added that he did not want to talk much about the issue.

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