Legacy of Sept. 12

Former President Kenan Evren, who staged a military coup on Sept. 12, 1980, died last week.

None of the leaders of the historic coups are fondly remembered. This also applies to Evren. Nobody could deny that there was a civil war going on before the military coup in Turkey. But how legitimate does the argument that they stopped bloodshed sound? The general, who said, “We would have carried out the coup before but we waited for the conditions to mature,” implicitly admitted that they did need a pretext to achieve their goals. The then-prime minister, Suleyman Demirel, said, “The military had power, there was martial law, why did the coup stop bloodshed all of a sudden?” This is a legitimate question to consider.

What roles did the Special Warfare Unit play before Sept. 12 in the emergence of clashes between right- and left-wing groups? What was the job of the deep state in the massacres in Marai, Yozgat and Malatya? Without properly addressing these questions, we cannot possibly justify the Sept. 12 coup. The Sept. 12 administration was a rule that confirmed the national security state concept. The regime was redesigned by reference to the pretext of protecting the state.

Turkey is still being governed by the products of the Sept. 12 coup, including its Constitution, laws and regime institutions. For this reason, it is unable to develop a progressive democratic stance. There is a reason why the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) avoids introducing any significant changes to the Sept. 12 Constitution and order.

This Constitution allows for authoritarianism. The AK Party will consent to change the Constitution only if a Turkish-type presidential system is introduced. The AK Party is using and exploiting the institutions and rules of the Sept. 12 regime.

They would not have favored constitutional amendments in 2010 if they had not believed that the changes would not protect their personal interests. The AK Party is working like the Bulent Ulusu government under the command of Kenan Evren. They only provide technocrat Cabinet services.

They have no will or vision at all. Turkey is being dragged towards two-headed rule. There is no difference between the Sept. 12 regime and the current type of rule in this country where judges, prosecutors, police officers, journalists and protesters are jailed. The politicians who received orders from the coup makers back then now receive instructions from those who hold power.

Kenan Evren was able to ensure that he was elected president because he presented himself as the protector of the country. But, despite obstructions by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government, he was prosecuted and sentenced to a symbolic punishment. This should be a lesson for those who violate the boundaries for their personal interests and ambitions. No one praises Evren now and most were unwilling to attend his funeral.

Every politician, judge, journalist, bureaucrat and ordinary citizen should know that everything can change when freedom and democracy prevails once more. The illegalities you committed today will become your burden in the future. The people will hold you accountable.

The political history of the world is full of stories about those who oppressed their people and betrayed their freedom. We have seen this in the Sept. 12 coup case. The people who attended Evren’s rallies in the past are not marching after him now. The AK Party wanted to recreate the Sept. 12 regime.

Everybody sees that the so-called New Turkey is a third-class Middle Eastern regime. The architects of the Sept. 12 regime have not been successful. And the holders of the New Turkey regime will not be successful either. The Ottoman legacy they are fond of referring to will not provide legitimization. Evren is dead, my condolences to the AK Party.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman