Former Minister Akşener testifies to prosecutor as part of Feb. 28 probe
Former Interior Minister Meral Akşener (Photo: Today's Zaman)
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy and former Interior Minister Meral Akşener on Monday testified to the prosecutor overseeing the probe into the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military intervention as a witness, confirming the existence of controversial West Study Group (BÇG) documents shown to her by the prosecutor.
“I was asked about the BÇG,” Akşener told reporters after she testified to Specially Authorized Public Prosecutor Mustafa Bilgili at the Ankara Courthouse.
The BÇG, which categorized politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats in accordance with their religious and ideological backgrounds, was formed within the military during the Feb. 28, 1997 coup, in which the military overthrew a coalition government led by a now defunct conservative party.
During her three-hour interrogation, Akşener reportedly told the prosecutor about the pressure she faced from Gen. Çevik Bir and his team at the time when she sent then-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan and Deputy Prime Minister Tansu Çiller controversial BÇG documents.
Akşener also revealed the identity of a Feb. 28 general who threatened her through then-Interior Ministry Undersecretary Teoman Ünüsan by telling Ünüsan: “Go and tell that woman not to speak recklessly. If we come [to power], she will be impaled in front of the Interior Ministry.”
In response, Akşener gave what many people called a courageous response, telling the general that Vlad the Impaler was also a homosexual.
Bilgili also summoned Cpl. Kadir Sarmusak (who faced charges of leaking classified documents from the military) and Merve Kavakçı, Turkey's first headscarved deputy who was removed from Parliament due to her headscarf in 1999, to testify as part of the Feb. 28 investigation.
Last week former National Police Department Intelligence Unit Chief Bülent Orakoğlu and former minister Hasan Celal Güzel also testified to prosecutor Bilgili as part of the Feb. 28 probe.