UPDATE WITH MORE REMARKS FROM PARLIAMENT SPEAKER, COMMENTS FROM VICE PRESIDENT, FOREIGN MINISTER, EDITS THROUGHOUT, CHANGES HEADLINE
By Gozde Bayar and Fahri Aksut
ANKARA (AA) – Trial by a military court in Yassiada, an island in the Sea of Marmara southeast of Istanbul, was not just political as it also questioned the preferences of the Turkish nation, the Turkish opposition leader said on Wednesday.
“Not only the 1950-60 period was tried here [in Yassiada], but also the appreciation and preferences of our nation that is the only owner of will and sovereignty were also distressfully questioned,” Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said.
Bahceli was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Democracy and Liberties Island, formerly known as Yassiada.
He added that the founders of Yassiada courts “made democracy and freedoms sit in the dock.”
– New beginning
For his part, Turkey’s Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop said the new face of Yassiada is not an ordinary reconstruction or landscape work, but it is a “new beginning.”
“At the core of every building that we see on this island, there are our nation’s will for freedom, resistance to coups and the determination to defend the constitutional order,” Sentop added.
The main cause of every military coup in our country is to prevent Turkey from acquiring the power to develop independent policies, he said.
Underlining that the military coup was an “assassination of democracy,” Sentop said it was a “reactionary and primitive” act preventing efforts for development and people’s will for liberation.
“This island where we come together today and visit in its new form is the site, where the political and judicial murder committed 60 years ago,” he stressed.
– Juntas to be condemned in conscience forever
Vice President Fuat Oktay said the “democracy martyrs” will continue to live in the heart of the Turkish nation, while the juntas will be condemned forever in conscience of people.
In a Twitter post, he said Turkey will resolutely continue to eradicate the coup mentality that plotted the coups of May 27 in 1960, Sept. 12 in 1980 and July 15 in 2016.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also remembered the “democracy martyrs.”
“The meaning of #27Mayis (May 27) will change with the Democracy and Liberties Island,” Cavusoglu said.
Yassiada, one of the Princes' Islands located in the Sea of Marmara southeast of Istanbul, is notorious for jails and trials from the 1960 military coup. It was renamed Democracy and Liberties Island in 2013.
The island is where Turkey's first democratically elected Prime Minister Menderes, along with leading Democratic Party (DP) members, were arrested after the May 27, 1960 coup and later jailed and tried.
After a biased and illegal trial on the island, President Celal Bayar, Premier Menderes, Foreign Minister Fatin Rustu Zorlu and Finance Minister Hasan Polatkan were sentenced to death. Bayar later received clemency from the sentence.