On Friday, Turkey marked the anniversary of the 1960 coup, the first and the worst coup in Turkey's modern history, as it paved the way for subsequent coups and coup attempts during the following decades.
The central point for commemoration was the graves of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, Foreign Minister Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and Finance Minister Hasan Polatkan. The three men walked to the gallows only months after the military coup, becoming the only democratically elected politicians in Turkey to be hanged by the military regime.
On May 27, 1960, a group of high-ranking military officers toppled the Democrat Party (DP) government in a coup just 37 years after the foundation of modern Turkey. Their excuse for the coup was that the ruling party was leading Turkey to a regime of oppression and down a path of political turmoil. The DP, under the leadership of Menderes, was the first democratically elected party early history of the fledgling Republic to win free elections, following long rule by a de facto party established by the Republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
On Friday, a group of representatives from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) visited the graves of Menderes, Zorlu and Polatkan in Istanbul's Topkapı district, and prayed in a solemn commemoration ceremony.
Professor Akile Gürsoy, the granddaughter of Celal Bayar, was among the visitors to the grave. Celal Bayar was the president when a group of high-ranking military officers calling themselves the National Unity Committee declared the coup, removing the government and dissolving Parliament. The 78-year-old Bayar, who held the largely ceremonial post of president, was among those detained by the coup regime and spared from execution by hanging, due to his old age.
Gürsoy told reporters that the 1960 coup was ill-defined as "a bloodless coup" (as it did not involve mass killings and is characterized with fewer executions, confined to the three leaders, as opposed to the 1980 coup), but it left behind many people with "broken lives" and opened the door for new coups. "You cannot accept one coup and oppose another. Coups, be they bloody or bloodless, cannot be accepted."
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