Ilıcak paid a visit to the commission at its parliamentary office in Dolmabahçe Palace in the evening. İdris Şahin, the spokesperson for the commission, replied to reporters' question after Ilıcak gave her testimony. Şahin said the journalist provided the commission with significant information about relationships between the media and politicians before and after the Feb. 28 coup.
On Feb. 28, 1997, the Turkish military forced the coalition government, led by the now-defunct conservative Welfare Party (RP), out of power, citing allegedly rising religious fundamentalism in the country. The Feb. 28 coup introduced a series of severe restrictions on religious life, including an unofficial but widely practiced ban on the use of headscarves by women.
The military was also purged of members with suspected ties to religious groups or officers who were observant Muslims. Additionally, a number of newspapers were closed down based on a National Security Council (MGK) decision that called for the closer monitoring of media outlets.
There is an ongoing investigation into the suspected actors behind the coup, with approximately 60 individuals already arrested on coup charges.
Ilıcak reportedly told the commission that Turkey is different from how it was during the Feb. 28 process and that there is no longer an appropriate atmosphere in which to lay the required grounds for a new military takeover. According to Şahin, the journalist said the Turkish military did not want the RP to continue ruling Turkey and therefore overthrew its coalition government. Ilıcak reportedly said several news reports that appeared in a number of newspapers at the time urged the military to force the RP government to step down from power.
Şahin also said former Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz did not accept an invitation to visit the parliamentary commission at Dolmabahçe Palace to testify about the Feb. 28 coup but agreed to send written replies if the commission sends him questions about his memories of the coup period. “Such a practice is not appropriate for a coup investigating commission. We expect our guests [important witnesses of the coup period] to visit the commission's office,” he said.
Additionally, the commission's spokesperson denied news reports that the commission had invited former Economy Minister Kemal Derviş to testify as part of the Feb. 28 coup investigation. However, he said, this does not mean the former minister will not be invited to testify in the future. “We have not sent an invitation to Derviş. However, we decide whose testimonies we want to hear in line with the testimonies of others. We may decide to hear the testimony of Derviş at a later time. However, the commission has not yet made a decision to this end,” he noted.