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When Nehru smelt a coup

The first of the four successful military coups in Turkey in 1960 had probably been delayed by few days as its military elite felt that it had to show courtesy to the visiting Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

When Nehru, who wanted Turkey to join the non-aligned movement (NAM), visited it between May 20-24, tensions had built up between the civilian government headed by Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and the armed forces under U.S.-backed military heads.

Mr. Menderes was a pro-NAM figure and was inclined to join the non-West and non-Soviet block. However, during his visit Nehru felt the growing internal tension.

“In fact Nehru realised he had been set-up as crowds cheered when he was alone but were sullen when with his civilian host,” said former Ambassador K.C. Singh in a tweet. “Turkish Army deferred coup till Nehru left,” said Mr. Singh.

The Hindu had carried a front-page report of the successful coup which had been executed swiftly. “I took over the country’s government as the situation was worsening daily. I believe that the entire nation is with me,” Gen. Gursel was quoted as saying on May 28, 1960.

However, Prof A.K. Pasha of the Jawaharlal Nehru University says that the real reason for the delay was that both the Turkish military and the civilian government had been negotiating for several months and that the date of the actual coup was dependent on external support provided by the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

“Turkey was already a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Prime Minister Menderes joining the non-aligned block would have damaged western military alliance. Prime Minister Nehru’s visit was not really the biggest factor in determining the date of the coup,” Prof Pasha said. Menderes was hanged in 1961 by the military rulers and Turkey could not become NAM member in the Nehruvian era.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 3:08:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/When-Nehru-smelt-a-coup/article14492989.ece

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