An investigation nto the "e-memorandum" of 2007, a thinly veiled coup attempt by the Turkish military, is achieving progress three years after it began with prosecutors interviewing a plaintiff.
Adem Çevik, an activist, had filed an earlier complaint against the memorandum published in April 2007 on the Turkish Armed Forces' website, and prosecutors had begun an inquiry in 2012.
On Friday, Çevik testified to a prosecutor in Ankara. He said then Chief of General Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt and then Land Forces Commander İlker Başbuğ were behind the memorandum. Çevik said they sought to shut down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
The memorandum was published on April 27, 2007, the month of a presidential election in Turkey. It came at a time when Abdullah Gül was running for president in a move by the AK Party to cement its victorious streak in politics since it came to power in 2002. The army, the self-styled defender of secularism, took it upon itself to warn the government about the threat to secularism in the vein of another ultimatum by the Armed Forces in 1997 to the government that eventually led to the collapse of the Islamist government in a "bloodless" coup. The memorandum, exclusively published online, read that the Army was concerned about the "erosion of basic values, primarily secularism," and tied the activities of the conservative population permitted by the government, such as the recitation of the Quran at public events, to a reactionary movement "against the state."
The statement was apparently targeting Gül, a presidential candidate with a conservative history in a country where a civil servant married to a woman wearing a headscarf was deemed a threat to state security by the secular elite. Gül eventually won the election while the government ignored the harshly worded memorandum. The AK Party boasts putting an end to military tutelage in Turkey that has been more known for coups since the 1960s than its main defense duties. The government has pledged to address the country's past coups and a string of investigations was launched against leaders of the 1980 and 1997 coups. Kenan Evren, the late leader of the 1980 coup, was sentenced to life imprisonment last year while the investigation into the 1997 coup is ongoing.
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