Retired major likens BÇG meetings to ‘occupation’
Retired Maj. Kemal Şahin, a participant in a West Study Group (BÇG) meeting during the Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup period, stated that he felt like a member of an “army of occupation” during the BÇG meeting.
The BÇG was formed within the military during the Feb. 28 coup to categorize politicians, intellectuals, soldiers and bureaucrats in accordance with their religious and ideological backgrounds. For Şahin, the topics of discussion in the meeting made him feel as if Turkey was under occupation. “I thought of pictures of World War I and the War of Independence. I thought that Turkey was under an occupation. I asked myself if I was a member of an army of occupation,” he noted.
Şahin was expelled from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) after the Feb. 28 coup on the grounds that he was engaged in acts of reactionaryism. The retired major said the BÇG meeting he attended was chaired by retired Gen. Çetin Doğan, the former head of the 1st Army. Doğan is currently a prime suspect in the Sledgehammer coup case, which concerns a suspected military plot to overthrow the government. “Representatives from all force commands attended the meeting. I was shocked by what was being discussed during the meeting,” he noted. However, Şahin did not mention what was discussed during the meeting.
The retired major also stated that some members of the military had to “hide their wives” from their superiors after Feb. 28 because the women were wearing the Islamic headscarf. He said some officers had to smuggle their wives in the trunks of their vehicles when taking them in to and out of military facilities so that they would not “get caught” during check-ins.