The overall situation has become crystal clear, despite the fact that it has only been three days since the initiation of the investigation. The Feb. 28, 1997 coup was staged by an organization called the West Study Group (BÇG). Military servicemen who assumed roles in this group were brought to court via an arrest warrant. There is one single explanation for the ongoing investigation into an organization that ruled Turkey, made official statements and held meetings 15 years ago: that a civilian administration takes action to address the illegal acts of the military by reliance on legal measures. For this reason, this investigation may be called a civilian coup.
For the first time, the prime minister acted as a party to a judicial investigation. He stresses that he is not seeking revenge; but he uses strong statements suggesting that he is party to a historic confrontation. The remark that Turkey is no longer a country where whoever gets up early can stage a coup is a challenge to those who consider staging a coup. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is one of the victims of the 1997 coup. He was tried and sentenced for a poem he recited. The investigation into Feb. 28 should be viewed as a sign that the prime minister has completed the counter coup.
The Feb. 28 coup relied on psychological warfare techniques. Society was convinced that a coup was necessary. Today, the people are convinced that a civilian coup is now required. This time, however, there is no psychological operation to convince the people. The AK Party has been preoccupied with creating the conditions for this civilian coup. The lack of any objection by social segments to this coup and the visible support for the ongoing investigation into Feb. 28 should be seen as the success of this civilian coup.
Feb. 28 was based on the fear that the secular state order might be destroyed. Back then, the coalition government created by Necmettin Erbakan and Tansu Çiller was referred to as the source of this fear. Today, it becomes evident that the coup was staged by a junta organized within the BÇG. The coup made the competition over secularism within the army bitter. Those who remained outside the coup organization engaged in a power struggle over secularism. It appears that a remark by Hüseyin Kıvrıkoğlu, former chief of General Staff, that the Feb. 28 process would last for a 1,000 years was due to this concern. Because the coup was staged by a junta, it led to the emergence of rival juntas as well.
The Feb. 28 investigation shows that the juntas that emerged in the aftermath of 2003 are the outcome of the commanders who participated in the Feb. 28 coup. Feb. 28 is being investigated and prosecuted. The appearance of the tanks in the streets of Sincan, Ankara, in 1997 was a concrete demonstration of violence that constituted the commission of an act of a coup. Today, the judges are prosecuting and trying those who gave this order by reliance on the authority to resort to coercive measures. This means that these arrests refer to a successful civilian coup. Isn’t this necessary for democracy?