Deputies recall bombs and resistance on coup night

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 15.07.2019 00:07

"If we close Parliament and go down to the shelters, people won't gather in the squares. They would think we are scared. What we will do here… is die," he said to Parliament speaker on the night of July 15, 2016, when the chaos looms over the Parliament after the coup plotters bombed the building representing people's will. Then he, Bekir Bozdağ, then justice minister, appeared in parliament rostrum. "We are here whatever you do, even if you bomb us," he shouted by addressing to coup plotters, a speech that galvanized deputies from all parties.

"For the first time, political parties joint their forces and stood against the coup attempt," says Bozdağ, while recalling that bloody night perpetrated by Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) that took life of 251 lives after three years.

Bozdağ's abovementioned courageous speeches recognized by all parts of society and made him one of the unforgettable actors of the coup night with his pioneered role in Parliament.

He said that one of the most important thing regarding that night is Turkish people's stance against coup plotters by putting aside their political divergences. "For the first time in Turkey, Turkish people and democracy prevailed over the coup plotters and their supporters," he said.

Being the justice minister when the attempt took place, Bozdağ also carried out judicial process and progressed extradition request of the FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen from U.S. until he hand over the post to Abdulhamit Gül.

Despite Bozdağ went to the U.S. several times to expedite the legal process and met with U.S. authorities, including former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions; , no formal steps have been taken on the issue so far. Under normal circumstances, Gülen should have already been arrested since Turkish authorities issued an official request for his extradition under the 1979

treaty between the U.S. and Turkey.

LACK OF ACTION AGAINST

COUPS LED to REPETITION

Bozdağ stressed that the governments did not take any action after previous military coups in Turkish political history; which, according to him, caused repetition of the same scenario. "However," he said, "the parliament took measures for coups not to be repeated, implementing new legislations and reforms under leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan," he noted.

While explaining these reforms, he mentioned to closing military high schools, establishment of National Defense University, reformation of Supreme Military Council, carrying barracks out of cities, reform enlistment laws etc. Another parliamentarian who witnessed July 15 coup attempt at Parliament, Necdet Ünüvar, said that it was "most brutal and bloody" coup attempt of Turkish Republic's history. Ünüvar is writer of "That Night at the Veteran Parliament," book, which published in 9 languages including English, French, Arabic, German, Bosnian, Russian, Spanish and Albanian. The book offers an insight experience on the events at Parliament during the coup night.

"We should not explain it only in Turkey but to the whole world, so it will clear up any suspicion left," Ünüvar said.

The Parliament building was bombed several times for the first time in its 55-year history during the failed coup attempt. A bombed-out section of the building will be converted into a "democracy museum" in tribute to its survival despite the attempt to overthrow it.

Recalling the July 15 night, Lütfiye Selva Çam, a parliamentarian and the head of the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) women's branch, said that no single deputies were intended to go shelters; instead, they resisted against the attempt.

Emphasizing that she has been following post-coup trials, Çam said none of FETÖ members expressed remorse. "They are thinking that they will seize the government 5-10 years later. An effective struggle against FETÖ is needed to shatter these hopes," she said.

After the coup attempt was quelled thanks to a strong public resistance, more than 100,000 new investigations were opened into the attempt and FETÖ's role in the putsch. Those handed down aggravated life sentences, the heaviest sentence in Turkey after the abolition of the death penalty years ago, have little chance for eligibility for an early release from prison.

Levent Gök, an opposition parliamentarian, said that he went to the parliament after he understood that it was a coup after seeing the signs, such as closure of Bosporus Bridge, adding that the bloody attempt had been repelled with "historic" stance of political parties which "internalized democracy."

"We thought that we won't survive at that night. At the morning, we left from shelter and saw devastated situation of the Parliament building," he said.

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