Former President and Prime Minister Demirel spoke to the Milliyet daily on the day the trial began against coup leaders Kenan Evren and Tahsin Şahinkaya concerning why he did not request to be a co-plaintiff at a time when hundreds rushed to court to become co-plaintiffs, claiming they were victimized by the coup.
“I settled accounts with the coup and its perpetrators in a referendum to end political bans in 1987. I became the prime minister in 1991 and the president in 1993. I only managed to do it with the support of the people,” said Demirel, asking, “Where were those people who are now criticizing me for not applying for co-plaintiff status in the coup case while I was fighting against the coup and trying to re-establish democracy in those days [the 1980s]?”
Demirel also said the coup took the 10 most precious years of his life and the political power the people had entrusted to him, adding that the military abolished both Parliament and the constitution. Demirel was banned from politics for 10 years after the coup.
“This trial, which came 32 years after the coup, is a revolutionary one against those responsible for instigating the coup,” he said, adding that he does not find it fair to try only two old men.
“Are we going to ignore other instigators and those who supported the coup in their columns and papers [at the time] and 92 percent of the people who voted in favor of the Constitution [prepared by the military rulers after the coup]?” Demirel told the Milliyet daily, adding that he wants “this era of fighting over coups” to come to an end, as he thinks the trial of coup leaders will yield no results.