Prosecutor seeks life imprisonment for Sept 12 coup leaders
AA photoA public prosecutor in the Sept. 12, 1980, coup case has demanded aggravated life imprisonment for the surviving leaders of the coup, then-Chief of General Staff Gen. Kenan Evren and former Air Force Cmdr. Gen. Tahsin Şahinkaya.
Evren, Turkey’s seventh president between 1982 and 1989, and Şahinkaya, who both have medical reports that they are not healthy enough to be present at the courthouse, were linked to the 17th hearing of the case held at the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court via an audio-visual conference system from the Ankara and Istanbul Military Medical Academy hospitals (GATA), respectively. Evren is 96 while Şahinkaya is 88.
The prosecutor described the coup d’état as “a crime against humanity,” and said the statute of limitations could not be applied for Evren and Şahinkaya. He also demanded the removal of Evren and Şahinkaya’s military ranks.
Meanwhile, the chief judge announced the answer provided by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) regarding the “Civilian Affairs Coordination Group” reached at the court. MİT told the court that they had no information regarding civilians who took part in the process leading up to the coup and that they had no documentation over the Civilian Affairs Coordination Group. The group was formed within the “Bayrak” (Flag) Operation Directive, which was the military’s road map for the staging of the coup.
But Ömer Kavili, an intervening lawyer, said the trial of the two elderly retired generals was insufficient in making an account with the 1980 coup, indicating that there were thousands of civilian collaborators in the coup.
“Although we hoped for the exact opposite when the trials began, the civilian collaborators in the coup have not been revealed up until now. MİT said they had no information about the civilian leg of the coup. Is MİT making fun of the court? How can we believe it?” Kavili said during the hearing. “We see that the mentality of Sept. 12 remains in government offices.”
The hearing has been suspended so that the former generals can prepare their defenses.
Separately, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) called on the government to rehabilitate the victims of all coups, including the 1980 putsch and the March 12, 1971, takeover.
“The Justice and Development Party [AKP] secured the rehabilitation of the Feb. 28 [post-modern coup of 1997] victims via a legal amendment adopted before Parliament went to summer recess. That was a favorable step. However, the victims of the Sept. 12 and March 12 [coups] were not included in that bill. This is inequality. If you ignore the victims of other coups while rehabilitating the Feb. 28 victims, this will not accord with democracy,” CHP deputy parliamentary group leader Akif Hamzaçebi said at a press conference on Oct. 25.