Murder on the february 28 express

by İhsan Yılmaz, Today's Zaman on . Posted in Columns

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The judiciary is now dealing with the Feb. 28 coup, and several retired high-ranking officers are now under arrest. It appears that this time, the prosecutors are determined not to make trivial but overblown mistakes as they have in the Ergenekon cases. They are proceeding with extreme caution and prudence.

This time, the prosecutors are both fortunate and unfortunate. They are fortunate since nobody can deny that Feb. 28 was a coup; it toppled the democratically elected government by force, and it actually took place. They are also fortunate as there is not only robust and concrete evidence, but also many confessions. Since they had never imagined their puppeteer regime would one day end and true democracy would start coming to Turkey, they spoke endlessly about their role in and success of the Feb. 28 coup. Now, the only (silly) explanation that they can come up with is that victims of the coup -- such as Necmettin Erbakan, Abdullah Gül or Fethullah Gülen -- were also supporting the coup. Quite obviously of course, nobody is swallowing this so-called explanation.

The prosecutors are unfortunate since there are so many people that were an active and organic part of the coup. Since it was a postmodern coup that focused on manufacturing the consent of the people by using Gramscian hegemonic apparatuses such as schools, mosques, the media, organic intellectuals and pseudo-civil society, it was like Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” With the exception of the victims, almost everybody was actively involved in the coup process. Thus, its perpetrators are now doing everything they can to freeze the process and have it limited only to the military officers. As I said, the prosecutors are proceeding with extreme caution, but one does not have to be a fortune teller or oracle to anticipate that they will soon find concrete evidence showing the active and organic participation of these so-called civilian actors, who range from media personalities to university professors, from politicians to trade unionists. They know very well what they did during the Feb. 28 coup process, so some of them have begun talking about a witch-hunt or revenge, their usual smokescreen tactic.

But this time, they will not be very lucky, as it seems the arrested military officers will speak about their civilian partners. The soldiers were upset but silent when these civilian partners enjoyed life and luxury, embezzled money from the banks and exploited the treasury, but all the blame went to the soldiers, who did not gain much financially from the coup. This time, they are the ones put behind bars, while the civilian coup-stagers continue with their posh lifestyle. Why should the arrested officers remain silent since they do not have anything to lose?

Nevertheless, when the judiciary starts approaching the civilian coup-stagers, there will be an inevitable uproar in the country as we are talking about the most privileged and established sections of society that have tremendous influence both in the country and abroad. Thus, it should not surprise you if you start seeing many denigrating news stories in both the Turkish and foreign presses about the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, Hizmet Movement, practicing Muslims, liberals and democrats in Turkey, whoever supports the cleansing of Turkey. But who cares? As long as there is concrete evidence against the civilian coup-stagers, not many people in Turkey will be bothered by distorted and fabricated news stories. These media outlets, both domestic and foreign, lost their credibility a long time ago, but they are not aware of it, like the Japanese soldier who did not know that World War II had ended.