Turkey is commemorating today the victims of a military coup – the first in the history of the Turkish state that was staged 56 years ago.
On this day in 1960, middle-ranking Turkish military officers arrested their own commander-in-chief and overthrew the country’s first democratically elected government.
Events of that day and the months that followed still resonate in Turkish politics as the coup leaders hanged a popular prime minister along with his two cabinet ministers.
Prime Minister Adnan Menderes was executed on September 17, 1961, while cabinet ministers – Foreign Affairs Fatin Rustu Zorlu and Minister of Finance Hasan Polatkan – were also sent to gallows a day earlier.
President Celal Bayar and Chief of the General Staff Rustu Erdenhul were also tried.
Before dawn on May 27, 1960, a group of military officers orchestrated a coup and took control of key military and civilian installations.
The group arrested civilian leaders and the army chief, while disregarding the chain of command.
Retired general Cemal Gursel was convinced to lead the military junta and he subsequently became the president.
In a radio broadcast that day, Colonel Alparslan Turkes announced the coup to the world and to the Turkish nation. The military junta also imposed a nationwide curfew and declared the formation of the Committee of National Union.
Within days after the coup, the military junta forced 235 generals and more than 3,000 military officers to retirement, removed more than 500 judges and public prosecutors and 1,400 university faculty members from their positions.
The coup was the culmination of months of tension between governing Democrat Party (DP) headed by Menderes and the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) headed by Ismet Inonu.
DP had won three consecutive elections against the CHP until the coup in 1960.
Menderes won more than 50 percent of the vote in the elections held in 1957.
After the coup, Menderes and his team members were accused of misuse of public funds and abrogation of the constitution.
Following a military court trial held in Yassiada Island that lasted around a year, Menderes and his two close companions were executed at the Island of Imrali in the Sea of Marmara.
But nearly after three decades in 1990, the state of Turkey exonerated them from all the charges.
The remains of Menderes and his companions were moved from the island and buried at a mausoleum in Istanbul.