“It is not a wound that will be healed easily,” says Yeni Şafak’s Abdülkadir Selvi about the 1980 coup. “We have lived with the hope of settling accounts with coup leaders since [former Prime Minister Adnan] Menderes was hanged by the May 27, 1960 coup perpetrators. People put the Justice Party [AP] into power with this hope after May 27. One day before the presidential elections of November 1989, [one of the 1980 coup leaders] Kenan Evren made a public speech telling people to vote for the military-backed Nationalist Democracy Party [MDP] rather than Turgut Özal, and people chose Özal as president just to teach Evren a lesson for the Sept. 12 coup,” says Selvi, adding that all of this shows the people’s faith in democracy. But Demirel being a co-plaintiff in the 1980 coup trial is not about settling accounts, as many people suggest. Instead, it is because his testimony would serve the trial and speed up the judicial process while also encouraging people to have higher hopes for democracy. This is why Demirel, who has put great effort into working against the military and coup perpetrators, should not refrain from lending assistance to such a momentous trial.
Bugün’s Toktamış Ateş relays a dialogue between him and Demirel during a meeting before the 1980 coup. “I asked him: Considering that democracy requires protecting the rights of minorities as well as majorities, roughly how many people should there be in a group in order for it to be called a minority? He replied: A single individual is sufficient to be called a minority, regardless of how big the majority in a society is; a single individual should be able to express his opinion, even though it contradicts that of the majority. I was really impressed by this answer. And I thought Demirel is a great example of a true democratic mindset. However, now I see that all of those statements about democracy were only for the sake of his political rights and career and not for the sake of Turkey’s democracy or future. His words, ‘I have already settled accounts with Sept. 12,’ are proof of this,” Ateş says.