“Gen. Karadayı called religious officers ‘traitors’”

March 08, 2010, Monday/ 16:48:00
During the Feb. 28 process in 1997 that led to the overthrow of the government of the time through an unarmed military intervention, the military saw what it calls “religious reactionaryism” as an even bigger threat than the separatist terrorism of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a document that has recently come to light suggests.

The document dated June 20, 1997 which bears the signature of then-Chief of General Staff İsmail Hakkı Karadayı, refers to religious military officers as traitors. Many a religious-minded officer was dismissed from the military during the Feb. 28 era.

The document states, “All military personnel are obliged to show the necessary vigilance and utmost care against reactionary activities, which are now treated as the number one indirect and direct threat against the existence of the secular and democratic Republic of Turkey.” The document was sent to some military commands and the National Defense Ministry.

The officers who were expelled from the military at the time were labeled as “traitors.” The document says: “The religious reactionary segment that has infiltrated all the layers of the state sees the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) as the biggest obstacle in its path and is attempting to use every possible means to infiltrate the TSK. TSK members who believe in democracy and who have taken an oath to protect the secular republic and the principles of Atatürk should be extremely careful and wary of these traitors.”

The document also attempted to intimidate army commanders who appeared to be too tolerant toward TSK personnel defined by Karadayı as “reactionaries.” The document says there will be legal action against commanders and superiors who show the slightest tolerance to those who are members of religious orders or actively involved in reactionary activities.

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