Türkiye on Saturday marked the 63rd anniversary of the 1960 military coup which led to the execution of then-Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, along with leading members of the Democrat Party.
“63 years ago, on May 27, Türkiye had to face its first military coup after its transition to a multi-party system,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Istanbul while visiting the grave of Menderes.
Stressing that May 27 was “one of the darkest days” in Türkiye’s history, Erdogan said: “This coup, carried out by a group within the Turkish Armed Forces, not only prevented our move towards democracy and development, but also left deep wounds in our hearts.”
The Democrat Party came to power in 1950, ending Türkiye’s single-party era of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) rule.
Menderes became the first non-CHP prime minister. Menderes won another two elections in 1954 and 1957, and remained in power over the next decade.
During a period of economic hardship in 1960, a group of mid-ranking military officers staged a coup. Menderes and 14 members of his administration were charged with treason and the misuse of public funds.
They stood trial in a military court on Yassiada Island in the Sea of Marmara and in 1961, Menderes and his ministers Hasan Polatkan and Fatin Rustu Zorlu were sentenced to death.
Yassiada was renamed Democracy and Freedom Island in 2013.
“We have turned Yassiada into an island of democracy and freedoms in a way that will keep the memory of our martyrs alive forever,” Erdogan said.
Meanwhile, Vice President Fuat Oktay also remembered the coup, saying: “We will not give up our struggle for democracy against any tutelage that disregards the will of our beloved nation.”
For his part, Turkish parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop said May 27 is a day that Türkiye remembers as a “disgrace” in its history.
“May 27 coup was the turning point of a period when the national will was taken hostage. It should not be forgotten that the main reason for every coup in our country is to prevent Türkiye from reaching the power to realize independent policies,” Sentop said in a statement.
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