Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Life Sentence Sought for Retired Turkish Generals in 1980 Coup

ANKARA - A Turkish prosecutor has sought life imprisonment for two former army generals on coup charges, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported Jan. 3.
Kenan Evren, 94, former chief of General Staff, and Tahsin Sahinkaya, 86, former air force commander, are being held responsible for the 1980 military coup, according to the indictment of an Ankara prosecutor's office.
Evren came to power after the coup and served as Turkey's seventh president from 1982 to 1989.
Five army generals took over power in 1980, but Evren and Sahinkaya are the only ones who are alive today.
The court now has 15 days to decide whether to accept the indictment and order a trial.
Evren and Sahinkaya were interrogated by prosecutors in June. A package of government-led amendments adopted in a 2010 referendum paved the way for the trial of those responsible for the military takeover.
Turkey's 1982 junta-made constitution reserved an article that exempted the former generals from any trial.
Turkey has endured three military coups - in 1960, 1971 and 1980 - but the military's political influence has decreased since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power in 2002.
In previous remarks, Evren said he never regretted the 1980 coup and preferred to commit suicide rather than go on trial.

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