Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu says Turkish democracy exists because the Turkish nation and pro-democratic political parties such as Democratic Party and governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have believed in national will, resisted military coups and interventions in critical times.
Davutoglu spoke during the groundbreaking ceremony of the “Islands of Democracy and Freedom” project in Yassiada where former prime minister Adnan Menderes was tried by a military court following the military coup of 1950.
Menderes was executed in another Turkish island Imrali where the leader of outlawed PKK Abdullah Ocalan is jailed and is in negotiations with the Turkish government to find a concrete resolution to the Kurdish question.
On May 14 in Turkish history, the leader of the Democratic Party Adnan Menderes had became the prime minister after his party overwhelmingly won Turkey’s first democratically held election in 1950.
Davutoglu said, “If the political establishment believed that the military coup of 1950 and its preparations were not only against a party, but also the national will, and stood up against it as Democratic Party did, rather than exploiting the coup in an opportunistic way, there would never be a military coup in Turkey.”
“If we are able to go elections as the manifestation of national will freely, its heroes are not us who are now making speeches to people on the topic but Adnan Menderes and his friends who defended democracy even when he was walking into the gallows,” Prime Minister added.
Davutoglu commented that freedoms are not gained easily and once lost, it will considerably be difficult to regain it if everybody does not demonstrate a will to defend freedom. He pointed out that Turkey has been led by a constitution placed by the military coup of 1980.
He said, “When you do not defend freedoms in an honorable way, not resist against attempts to abolish them, and all the parts of society do not lay claim to them, it becomes so difficult to reverse negative results of the interventions.”
Davutoglu said that the AK Party went through a similar experience as the Democratic Party when the Turkish military gave a memorandum to the party about its reformist policies on April 27, 2007 which is now known as the “April 27 Memorandum.”
However, governing AK Party stood against the threats and Turkey currently does not have any reminders of a military intervention as the February 28 postmodern military coup left to Turkey’s democracy following it, he added.
Davutoglu also called upon opposition parties to participate in the “Islands of Democracy and Freedom” project which plans a symbolic parliamentary session in the island of Yassiada on May 27 when the military coup took place against the Adnan Menderes government in 1960.
Prime Minister stated, “Let’s organize a session here on May 27 to demonstrate to everybody and history that no one could lock up the Grand National Assembly of Turkey anymore.”
The AK Party considers the Democratic Party of 1950s as its predecessor not only chronologically but also in terms of political thinking and action planning. Both parties mostly have liberal conservative political stances.