Following the release of the memorandum during the presidential election process in 2007, then-CHP leader Deniz Baykal said, “Turkey has unfortunately been dragged into becoming a country where state institutions feel the need to adopt a stance [against the government] and issue a warning.”
The reason for the military’s statement against the government was the AK Party’s nomination of then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül for the presidency. The fact that Gül’s wife wears a headscarf was deemed a threat to secularism by the military.
Retired ambassador and then-CHP Deputy Chairman İnal Batu, who later parted ways with the CHP, told Today’s Zaman on Thursday that his party had worked hand-in-hand with the military and the Constitutional Court in the process leading up to the release of the memorandum. According to Batu, Baykal committed a constitutional crime at the time by telling the Constitutional Court to cancel the first round of the presidential elections in Parliament because the 367-deputy quorum had not been met or there would be chaos in the country.
“The CHP, the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] and the Constitutional Court were on the same front. The True Path Party [DYP] and the Motherland Party (ANAP) [which joined the CHP in boycotting the presidential vote in Parliament] joined this front later due following threats. The short-term goal of the military was to prevent the election of Gül as president. If the military had succeeded with the memorandum, this would have paved the way for similar interventions in the future,” Batu said.
CHP deputy Haluk Koç told Today’s Zaman on Thursday that a group of CHP deputies had aimed to release a statement critical of the military’s memorandum back then; however, they could not reach Baykal in time and instead then-Deputy Chairmen Onur Öymen and Mustafa Özyürek made a statement in support of the memorandum.
He said the 367-deputy quorum, which led to the cancellation of the presidential vote, was a controversial issue, and added that the CHP boycott of the vote was not a result of any pressure.
“I don’t what the case was with the DYP and ANAP, but nobody told us not to attend the vote in Parliament,” he said, adding that all those who have drafted coup plans need to be investigated.
CHP deputy Mesut Değer also told Today’s Zaman on Thursday that the CHP had gone with the wrong policy with regards to the April 27 memorandum and paid the price when it failed to garner an increase in votes in the elections, held early, that same year.
He said that although a group of CHP deputies were against the memorandum, Öymen and Özyürek acted more quickly and voiced support of the memorandum.