Parliament Speaker Musta Sentop’s determination that it is ‘technically’ possible for the President to repeal the Montreux Convention and the statement on the issue published by 104 retired navy officers have raised the ‘coup’ debate to the top of the political agenda. In related news, debate is also raging over whether Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention based on a Presidential decree is legal or not.
Photos of Rear Admiral Mehmet Sari wearing a skullcap and cassock at an Islamic is being used as another justification for the statement published by the retired admirals. Government officials, notably the President, reacted harshly to the statement published at midnight last Saturday. The Chief Prosecution Office of Ankara launched an investigation over the statement. Ten retired admirals have been taken into custody while four admirals were told to report to security directorates for testimony within three days. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held an evaluation meeting at the Presidential Complex. “It’s never acceptable for 104 retired admirals to make such an attempt,” he said. The AK Party Central Executive Committee (CEC) followed up with administrative and legal sanctions against the retired admirals. A four-pronged strategy based on steps to be taken in the judicial, administrative, legal and social fields have been adopted by the AK Party, including limiting some rights of the retired officers, such as lodging, usage of officers’ clubs and passports.
A “MANUFACTURED” AGENDA
Opposition parties responded to the AK Party’s moves with allegations that it was trying to change the national agenda. “What kind of coup paranoia is this? Where have retired admirals staged a coup anywhere in the world? They’ve lost their senses,” the Republican People’s Party (CHP) ;eader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said, adding that the issue was manufactured.
“104 retired admirals shared a statement,” IYI Party Leader Meral Aksener said. “What happened then? The government evaded talking about the nation’s problems for four days.” In terms of the statement itself, Aksener also criticized the admirals for not voicing their concerns through more official channels. “It’s important that those who have concerns about Turkey should mention them at the right time and place,” she said. “Especially those who have worked in crucial positions and offices and have served their country for years should act in a more responsible way. They can’t do this with a mysterious midnight statement.”
Nonetheless, Aksener criticized the political environment in which anyone who criticizes the government is immediately labeled “treacherous” or a “terrorist” or “coup plotter”.
“Those who underestimate a group of retired military members’ threats to the national will and the elected members of the country on made-up issues are coup plotters themselves, especially at a time when the country is still suffering from the July 15 coup attempt,” President Erdogan said during the group meeting harshly criticizing the CHP.