Turkish court rules to subpoena ex prime ministers

Turkish court approves to subpoena former Prime Ministers Tansu Ciller, Mesut Yilmaz in Feb. 28 postmodern coup case

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Former Prime Ministers, Tansu Ciller and Mesut Yilmaz are seen in this archived photo.

Turkey’s former Prime Ministers,Tansu Ciller and Mesut Yilmaz were subpoenaed by a court on Wednesday to testify at the next trial of Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup case.

The Fifth Ankara Heavy Penal Court issued a ruling to subpoena the former prime ministers who have refused to provide testimony in the case. In addition, they will be brought to court by force if they refuse to attend the trial again.

Feb. 28 postmodern coup case accuses 103 suspects with “Taking part to overthrow and topple Turkish government by force.”

Eight trials have taken place so far in the case.

Ex-PM Yilmaz was expected to testify, but, he notified the court that he would not attend due to trip to Germany.

Suspects are being tried over their alleged role to oust Welfare Party-led Turkish government following a National Security Council (MGK) meeting on February 28, 1997.

The court has decided to hear Ciller, the leader of the True Path Party (DYP) and former deputy prime minister who was the coalition partner of the late Necmettin Erbakan, the prime minister and head of the Welfare Party at the time.

Ciller should have been appointed to form the next government following Erbakan’s resignation according to the deal agreed upon by two leaders.

However, former Turkish President Suleyman Demirel appointed the Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Mesut Yilmaz on June 19 to form the next government.

Following the MGK meeting in 1997, a memorandum was published in a harsh language to safeguard Turkey’s secularism, democracy and legal system. It urged the government to close religious schools and tarikats (religious orders), accept an 8-year compulsory primary education, obey the dress code, and punish any action deemed as an insult against Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the secular founder of the Republic of Turkey.

Erbakan first rejected to sign the memorandum, but he signed it on March 4 under allegedly heavy pressure from the military.

On May 21, Chief Prosecutor of Supreme Court, Vural Savas opened a case in the Constitution Court against the Welfare Party by claiming that “They have dragged the country into a civil war,” and violated the rule of secularism, he asked the party to be closed.

On June 10, heads and members of the constitutional court, supreme court, and council of state were called to the headquarters of the general staff and given a briefing on activities against secularism.

Eight days later, Erbakan resigned from his position as prime minister.

TRTWorld and agencies