1960 Turkish coup d'état
The Turkish coup of May 27th (Turkish: 27 Mayıs Darbesi) was the first coup d'état in the Republic of Turkey. The coup was staged by a group of 38:103 young Turkish military officers acting outside the Staff Chiefs' chain of command, orchestrated by Alparslan Türkeş and ultimately led by General Cemal Gürsel, against the democratically elected government of the Democrat Party on 27 May 1960.
The incident took place at a time of sociopolitical turmoil and economic hardship, as US aid from Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan was running out and, hence, prime minister Adnan Menderes planning a visit to Moscow in hope of establishing alternative lines of credit.
Colonel Alparslan Türkeş orchestrated the plot. He was a member of the junta (tr:Milli Birlik Komitesi), and had been among the first 16 officers trained by the United States in 1948 to form the stay-behind anti-communist organization, counter-guerrilla. As such, he explicitly stated faith and allegiance to NATO and CENTO in his short address to nation, yet remained vague as for the reasons of the coup. On the morning of May 27, Türkeş declared the coup over radio, which ultimately announced "the end of one period in Turkish history, and usher in a new one":
The Great Turkish Nation: Starting at 3:00 am on the 27th of May, the Turkish armed forces have taken over administration throughout the entire country. This operation, thanks to the close cooperation of all our citizens and security forces, has succeeded without loss of life. Until further notice, a curfew has been imposed, exempt only to members of the armed forces. We request our citizens to facilitate the duty of our armed forces, and assist in reestablishing the nationally desired democratic regime.— Alparslan Türkeş, Radio broadcast May, 27th 1960
In a press conference held on the following day, Cemal Gürsel emphasized that the "purpose and the aim of the coup is to bring the country with all speed to a fair, clean and solid democracy... I want to transfer power and the administration of the nation to the free choice of the people" Thus the coup removed a democratically elected government while expressing the intent to install a democratically elected government.
The junta forced 235 generals and more than 3000 other commissioned officers to retirement; purged more than 500 judges and public prosecutors, and 1400 university faculty members; put the chief of the General Staff, the president, the prime minister and other members of the administration under arrest, followed by the appointment of the commander of the army General Cemal Gürsel, as provisional head of state, prime minister and the minister of defense.
The minister of Interior, Namık Gedik, committed suicide while he was detained in the Turkish Military Academy. President Celal Bayar, prime minister Adnan Menderes and several other members of the administration were put on trial before a court appointed by the junta on the island Yassıada in the Sea of Marmara. The politicians were charged with high treason, misuse of public funds and abrogation of the constitution.
The tribunals ended with the execution of Adnan Menderes, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and Minister of Finance Hasan Polatkan on İmralı island on 16 September 1961. A month later, the administrative authority was returned to civilians, however, the military continued to dominate the political scene until October 1965. General İsmet İnönü held the office of Prime Minister for the third time from 1961 to 1965. In the first free election after the coup in 1965, Süleyman Demirel was elected and held the office until 1971 (when he was removed through another coup.)
- 1971 Turkish military memorandum
- 1980 Turkish coup d'état
- 1997 Turkish military memorandum
- Turkish Constitution of 1961
- Multi-party period of the Republic of Turkey
- History of Turkey
- Committee of Inquest
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