UPDATE WITH MORE REMARKS FROM TURKISH PRESIDENT
By Fahri Aksut and Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) – The Turkish president on Wednesday marked the 60th anniversary of the country’s first-ever military coup with the inauguration of the Democracy and Liberties Island.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 60 years ago, Turkey experienced one of the darkest days of its history with May 27 coup.
Erdogan stressed that not only then Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and his aides were tried in Yassiada, but also the Turkish history, culture, values and beliefs.
"In fact, it was not a trial but the murder of law by those who violated the constitution by orchestrating a coup and accusing the country’s legitimate rulers of violating the constitution," he said.
The president said that coup plotters and those who directed them always acted with the same idea.
"The main character of all coups and junta movements in our country is hostility towards the values and history of our nation," he said.
Erdogan said Turkish people will never forgive not only those who staged coups but also those who encouraged them.
"The evil of those who brought Menderes and his aides to the gallows and who supported these executions will never be forgotten," he said.
– Memories of Menderes, his aides
Stressing the importance of the national will, Erdogan said those who were sent to the gallows were not only three men but also the national will.
"Therefore, we decided to turn Yassi Island into the Democracy and Liberties Island to eternize the memories of Menderes and his aides," he said.
"I believe that Democracy and Liberties Island will be a symbol of Turkey's future goals and the 60-years struggle for democracy," the president added.
On Twitter, Erdogan also shared the features of the newly inaugurated island.
He said there are a mosque for 1,200 people, a congress center for 500 people, a hotel with 123 rooms, a showroom, a library, a museum, a sports center, a lighthouse, view terraces and parks on the island.
Erdogan also said the percentage of the green area on the island is 60%.
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.