“Coups in Turkey are mainly caused by the structure of the system,” Numan Kurtulmus told a conference titled “Coups from Feb. 28 to July 15 and FETO’s betrayal,” in the western province of Manisa.

FETO or the Fetullah Terrorist Organization is blamed for last July’s coup attempt, which martyred at least 248 people and left some 2,200 injured.

“Turkey’s Constitutional Court in Turkey has closed down 68 political parties since the 1960s,” Kurtulmus added, pointing out that some were even ruling parties.

“If one judge had said yes, we would not have [the ruling Justice and Development] AK Party today,” Kurtulmus said, referring to a 2008 closure case against his party.

The 1960s coup marks a dark era in Turkish history, as then-Prime Minister Adnan Menderes won over 50 percent of the vote in the 1957 general elections before he was overthrown and later executed.

The Feb. 28, 1997 “post-modern coup” resulted in late Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan stepping down.

“Feb. 28 was not a post-modern coup,” Kurtulmus said. “It was a coup and one of the most traitorous."

“May 27 [1960], March 12 [1971], Sept. 12 [1980]: These were coups with political consequences,” he said, adding that 1997 putsch had sociological consequences such as a ban on headscarves in public service and the shutting down of Quranic schools.

On April 16, the electorate will be asked to vote Yes or No on an 18-article reform bill that would give wide-ranging executive powers to the president and abolish the post of prime minister. The Yes campaign is backed by the AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The would-be coup by FETO, led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, in last July 15 was defeated when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rallied thousands of people to take to the streets to support Turkey’s democratically elected government against the coup-plotters.

Anadolu Agency