The Alternate Book of 1960s

Table of Contents
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Written by: SultanArda

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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-To Arrest or Not to Arrest
-Now What We Do?
-Reactions at Home, Reactions in the World
 
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To Arrest or Not to Arrest
To Arrest or Not to Arrest

“May 27 [i.e. the 1960 coup] failed to reach its goal. Parliament is not working. The army is being criticised. Now commanders are sent East to break up the forces at the ready. Our plans are ready, the army is with us. Our password is ‘Halaskar’ and our sign is ‘Fedailer’... If this action does not succeed, I will commit suicide.”

Colonel Talat Aydemir, in his speech directed towards the newly graduated cadets of the War Academy

Colonel Ahmet Talat Aydemir. Born as the son of a war veteran in 1917 in the town of Bilecik, he would follow his father’s footsteps and would decide to become a soldier. First getting into the Kuleli Military High School, then to the Military College, he would graduate as a first lieutenant. In 1947, the year he also became a captain, he would enroll in the War Academy and would graduate there in two years. Slowly climbing the ranks, he, just like most young officers in that era, would join the plot against the Menderes Government. However, he was not able to join the coup, as he was assigned to South Korea. This resulted in him not being accepted to the National Unity Committee, and thus, not being able to voice his opposition to the return to parliamentarism. While this hindered his ability to affect events, it also resulted in him not being purged unlike the Alparslan Türkeş and his friends, which found themselves in diplomatic positions all across the globe.

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Talat Aydemir and İsmet İnönü

Despite this purge, however, there were still officers who opposed return to parliamentarism. And, they all gathered around Colonel Talat Aydemir, who was the commander of War Academy with a large following amongst the cadets. The İsmet İnönü Government noticed this discontent among the officers and would try to find a way to deal with it. Events will give even more reasons for the government to worry about the possibility of a coup. An MP from the Justice Party, a party that was the continuation of the dissolved Democrat Party, would say heavy words against the officer families, which would increase the tensions between the army and the politicians. İsmet İnönü, in order to deal with this situation, would, at first, try to have a tour in the War Academy in order to intimidate Talat Aydemir. It seemed to not work, as Talat Aydemir sent the students to training. This was solved when cadets were recalled to the Academy and meeting resumed normally. This was followed by an intense meeting of officers loyal to the government, largely high commands, and officers wanting a coup, largely junior officers. This meeting was filled with tension, with Talat Aydemir saying “Army’s junior staff's pressure is increasing. Let’s fight with any commanders who are controlling their divisions”. The final straw was when, on 20 February, some pro-coup units thought that a coup was going to happen that night. It was not going to happen, however, and the alert was discarded quickly. After these events, it was decided that Talat Aydemir and his allies were going to be appointed to other divisions, most of them in Eastern provinces of Turkey.

When Talat Aydemir heard about the appointments, he would present an ultimatum to the government demanding the government to stop the appointments. It was not accepted. So, Talat Aydemir would make an announcement at three pm to six hundred newly graduated cadets that there was going to be a coup. The Armory of the War Academy was opened and bullets were given to the cadets. When this was heard by the government, 230th Infantry Regiment and Artillery Forces from Polatlı were called by the government against Talat Aydemir. Their commanders would go to the War Academy and would declare their loyalty to the putschists. Yet, there were still some setbacks to the coup. The İstanbul side of the coup refused to join the coup, as they thought it was too early to make. Despite this, with the forces that switched to his side, he felt confident enough to give the government a list of demands. List included these demands:
-Return of all officers appointed to elsewhere to their original forces
-Purge of two hundred MPs from the parliament, if not possible, complete abolition of it.
-Fixation of some demands of the Constitution

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Fethi Gürcan

Of course, the government refused it, while it was in a meeting in Çankaya Mansion with all of the party leaders and with the Chief of Staff and force commanders. While, the government was discussing about what they were going to do about this situation, Presidential Guard Regiment had an internal coup, inside of it, with pro-coup, Commander of the Cavalry Units in the Guard Regiment, Fethi Gürcan arresting the newly appointed Commander of the Guard Regiment, Cihat Alpan. The Presidential Guard Regiment would siege the Çankaya Mansion, and Fethi Gürcan would get on the phone to talk with Talat Aydemir about arresting the government. However, when he got to the phone, he realized the phone was not working [1]. Fethi Gürcan had lots of choices with limitless possibilities but very limited time. He could arrest the government, he could wait for telephone lines to be fixed, he could leave them to their order…

At the end, after a few minutes of thinking, he decided to arrest the government members inside the Çankaya Mansion. Soldiers of the Presidential Guard Regiment would burst into the room where the government was meeting, and would arrest the members of the government. None of the participants of the meeting would show any physical opposition to their arrest. And, Prime Minister İsmet İnönü, while he was escorted to his former room in the Çankaya Mansion by the pro-coup soldiers, in a sad expression, would say “Now, we have lost”. [2]

[1]: In OTL, phones were working and there was no soldier who cut the lines out of stress. And, in OTL, Talat Aydemir told the Fethi Gürcan to release them, as he did not want his action to be seen as a coup. So, this is our POD.
[2]: In OTL, İsmet İnönü, while exiting from the Çankaya Mansion smiled and said “Now, they have lost”.
 
Well, what do people think about it? This is my first timeline that is not a spinoff, I would love to hear your opinions.
 
Now What We Do?
Now What We Do?

“I just say the truth, events will show who is right!”

Colonel Talat Aydemir, said when Chief of Staff General Cevdet Sunay said that “You are too fiery, colonel”

When the telephone lines in the Çankaya Mansion were fixed, Fethi Gürcan immediately called Talat Aydemir to inform him that he arrested every single important person in the Mansion. Fethi Gürcan, hoping for a good reaction from Talat Aydemir, received a rather shocked and, somewhat, angry reaction. Talat Aydemir, despite what people thought, didn’t want his movements to be seen as a coup. But, now, there was no way that he was able to convince people that he was not doing a coup. Also, there was no way to negotiate a deal with the government, as they were arrested by soldiers loyal to him. Talat Aydemir, and commanders loyal to him, begin to talk about what to do after this. Talat Aydemir was confused, his commanders were confused and even the cadets were confused.

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Talat Aydemir Thinking About What to Do?

While this was happening in the coup’s side, in the side of pro-government soldiers, chaos reigned. Rumors of the government being captured by Talat Aydemir were heard by every officer in Ankara and the 229th Infantry Regiment, whose newly appointed commander managed to reign in, would overthrow their commander and would declare their loyalty to Talat Aydemir. This defection was followed by few, largely opportunist, defections to the coup. Pro-government forces were having bad hours.

People knew that something bad was happening. There were troops on the streets and the radio station was protected by a mix of policemen and soldiers. Nobody had an idea how to react to it. Radio repeatedly broadcast a joint statement made by all the leaders of the political parties, until 17.00. By this time, Junta of the Colonels decided to move to the radio transmitting station in Etimesgut and all the radio broadcasting were few songs that were found in the Etimesgut Transmitting Station. People had no idea what was going on. Few of them would even go to the radio station to ask what was happening. All their questions were evaded by answers like “It is a technical problem”

After a long meeting, Talat Aydemir and his friends realized that their movement was officially a coup, and they should behave like a coup attempt. After this realization, they would develop a plan to make their movement successful. They were going to convince, or even force, President Gürsel and Prime Minister İnönü to resign on the radio, and hope that it was enough to convince pro-government troops to defect, or at the very least, surrender. Yet, for this, they needed to capture the radio station. Junta of the Colonels decided to send the entire 228th Infantry Regiment to capture the radio station. There were two possibilities of events. First one was that pro-government forces were going to be intimidated by the 228th Infantry Regiment and were going to surrender. Second one was that they were going to fight, and, hopefully, outnumbered pro-government forces were going to be defeated. And, after that, both Prime Minister İnönü and President Gürsel would effectively transfer all governmental jobs to the Armed Forces Union.

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Soldiers near the Radio Station

As the soldiers of the 228th Infantry Brigade reached the radio station, panic began to dominate the pro-government forces in the radio station. With the rumors of the arrest of the government and upcoming large force, pro-government forces choose to surrender to the 228th Infantry Brigade, on the condition of their safety. And, with these, residents of Ankara realized something bad was happening.

The operation, without any setbacks, was successful. Now, it was time to convince the entire government to give their power to the Armed Forces Union. This part of the plan had however, had numerous setbacks. First, they still had lots of troops under their command. At least nominally. Second, they were arrested by the pro-coup forces and now were asked to give away their power. This would need lots of convincing to do.

Fethi Gürcan would begin talking with the few key members of the government to convince them to give their power to the Union. It was a hard task, as most government members refused to give in to the Junta of the Colonels. However, one by one they would agree to resign, mostly to stop any blood being spilled. And, after seeing the government disintegrating, both President Gürsel and Prime Minister İnönü, with a massive reluctance, would agree to speak to the radio and give all power to the Armed Forces Union, led by Talat Aydemir.

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President Cemal Gürsel and Prime Minister İsmet İnönü

Radio speeches given by the President and the Prime Minister were grim. Speeches were filled with grief and sadness and ended with the announcement of their resignations, without any comments on the current situation.

And, finally, at 21.30, new leader of the Republic of Turkey, Colonel Talat Aydemir would make a long speech about how May 27 was a failed coup and how the Armed Forces Union was going to fix it. At the closing remark of his speech with the words of “Good Luck for Our Country” [1]

[1]: His last words on the death row.
 
Reactions at Home, Reactions in the World New
Reactions at Home, Reactions in the World

“Let nothing be called natural
In an age of bloody confusion,
Ordered disorder, planned caprice,
And dehumanized humanity, lest all things
Be held unalterable!”

Bertolt Brecht, written in the prologue of his book “The Exception and the Rule”

When the coup began at first, the Istanbul side of the coup, led by the Military Governor of Istanbul Lieutenant General Refik Tulga, would try to convince Talat Aydemir to abort his coup attempt. To them, conditions that needed for a coup were not met. After all, the Commander of the Air Forces was still loyal to the Army and the chain of command between putschists was not formed yet. To them, the coup was going to fail. Yet, to their shock, it did not happen. Talat Aydemir’s forces were able to arrest the government, and they even convinced the government to give away all their powers to the Armed Forces Union.

A meeting between the pro-coup generals began in Istanbul on whether to join the coup, or to remain neutral and retain a wait and see approach. Both strategies had their risks. If they joined the coup and the coup failed, they would find themselves arrested and possibly executed. However, if they remained neutral and the coup succeeded, they were sure that Talat Aydemir, who screamed at them on the phone earlier the day, would punish them.

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Military Governor of Istanbul, Refik Tulga

After lots of talking, it was decided that the İstanbul side of the coup decided to rejoin the coup. It was a risky move, yet it was a move that could pay off. Soon, Military Governor of Istanbul Refik Tulga would get to the radio station in Istanbul where he made an announcement that all forces in Istanbul should join the coup. It was followed by his declaration of loyalty to the Armed Forces Union. After the news was heard, most units in Istanbul would declare their loyalty to the Armed Forces Union too. Yet, some units will continue their “wait and see” approach.

While this was happening in Istanbul, in Ankara, or more specifically in the Mürted Air Base, commanders were discussing what should be done against the Junta of the Colonels. The Air Force still remained loyal to the government, yet there was a small problem with their loyalty. Government was in the hands of the putschists. This would cause lots of problems for the Air Force, as their main plan was to bombard the War Academy if everything went out of hand. And, by this point, everything went out of hand. So, they should have bombarded the War Academy and ended the rebellion by killing its leaders. Yet, there was a possibility of killing the government leaders, who were supposedly taken there. Also, nobody was able to give any orders to them, as their commander was among the arrested of the Armed Forces Union. Situation for the Air Force deteriorated even further when the Governor of İstanbul, Refik Tulga announced his loyalty to the Armed Forces Union. They had no idea what to do and their time was running out. Rumors of Artillery Forces loyal to Talat Aydemir bombarding the base was heard by everyone and managed to cause even more chaos and confusion. Opinion of defecting to the Talat Aydemir, who was non-existent at first, increased every time, and nobody had an idea how to stop it.

Chaos in the Air Force was a drop in the water compared to the chaos in the TBMM. MPs had no idea what to do about this situation. There was also the fear of Guard units protecting the Assembly building defecting to the Talat Aydemir, just like how the Presidential Guard Regiment defected to the Talat Aydemir and delivered government to the arms of Talat Aydemir. Some MPs were talking about conceding to Talat Aydemir and his Armed Forces Union, while others wanted to resist against the Armed Forces Union no matter the conditions.

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Secretary of State Dean Rusk

This confusion was not limited to the government of Turkey. Governments all across the world had no idea what to do. US diplomats met with the members of the junta before the coup, yet they met mostly to ensure that putschists will remain loyal if they somehow overthrow the government. Nobody in the USA knew what to do. Most of the discussion revolved around supporting the government who still had a numerical superiority or staying neutral until one side managed to win the power fight. Yet, these fights ended when US Secretary of State Dean Rusk would famously utter the words that defined not only the policy of the USA on this coup, but also most of the world’s policy: “USA will watch and then crown the champion”. USSR, People’s Republic of China, United Kingdom… pretty much most of the major power would pursue a wait and see approach. Not all countries were that inactive however. South Korea would plead with both sides to come to an agreement, while Egypt would release a statement that implied that they supported Talat Aydemir’s Junta. Other than these statements, most of the world simply did not care about the event and move on with their lives.

People of Turkey, who now learned that their government was in disarray and there were two competing sides vying for power, were definitely the most confused out of all groups. No one knew what was going on, with their only news source, the radio, repeatedly broadcasting the announcements by the Armed Forces Union that told them to be calm and a broadcast of music that followed it. Nobody had an idea what to do. Some gathered around the War Academy to learn what was happening, some gathered around the Governorship building in İstanbul and most stayed in their homes waiting for some answers from the radio, neighbors, any source that could provide it. They had no idea what to do, which meant they were at the same level as most of the military commanders in Turkey.
 
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