21 Ekim Protokolü – Understanding the 1960 Coup and its aftermath
On the 15th of October, new elections were done within the auspices of the 1961 Constitution. Accordingly, the CHP took only 36.74 of the votes, the follower of the DP – the JP managed to take 34.80 of the votes, CKMP 13.96 and the YTP 13.73. The RPP was not able to form a majority government. During this time, the army which was already divided itself in the aftermath of the 27 May 1960 coup again entered a turbulence. It was clear that the DP was still alive and its members were eager to strike back once the time was ripe. This paved the way to the 21 October Protocol. The SKB – Silahli Kuvvetler Birligi (Armed Forces Union) fraction within the army convened and with the signature of 10 general and amirals and 28 colonels and signed the protocol: According to the protocol: “All existing political parties shall be closed, the National Unity Council shall be terminated, and the operation will take place in hierarchical fashion, before the opening of the Parliament, namely 25 October 1961”.
Nevertheless this protocol shows that, the radicals within the ranks of the army, or the so-called Colonels and lower ranks, were still eager to take control of the country, and were self-assured that the time was not ripe for democracy, and a military government should govern the country up until order was sustained. However, within the NATO structure, the restructuring of an army in such scales, and let alone the restructuring of the country was by no means acceptable.
On 23th of October, the Expanded Command Council convened, and the Chief of Staff Sunay refused the demands and asserted that a new round-table would be convened between the commanders, the president, and the members of political parties. The high command once more stopped the radical minded lower ranks and tried to reach a consensus with the political establishment over red-lines. On 24th of October 1960 these red lines became visible in the 2. Cankaya Meeting. Accordingly, Cemal Gürsel, the leader of the CNU shall be the President of the country, the government shall not intervene in the rights and privileges given to the army as a whole, and the issue over the former DP members should not be scratched by political parties.
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