Surviving leaders of 1980 coup face lifetime service
ISTANBUL / ANKARA
Kenan Evren, now 94, was the leader of Turkey’s 1980 military coup, in which 650,000 people were taken into custody and 230,000 were put on trial. The coup also resulted in 517 people receiving the death penalty and 50 to be hanged. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
An Ankara prosecutor has completed his investigation into the 1980 military coup and recommended that the two surviving putsch leaders be sentenced to life imprisonment for their role in the takeover.
Public prosecutor Kemal Çetin sent the indictment to the court yesterday, accusing Kenan Evren, the Chief of General Staff during the Sept. 12, 1980, military coup, and Tahsin Şahinkaya, air forces commander at the time, of “intentionally attempting to force Turkish Parliament to annul itself or stop it from fulfilling its duties.”
Şahinkaya, 86, and Evren, 94, are the only surviving members of Evren’s five-man junta that seized power in 1980. The National Security Board (MGK), which was formed after the coup and brought together the top commanders, ruled the country under martial law until the general elections in 1983.
Hüseyin Görüşen, an Ankara prosecutor with special authority, told reporters in Ankara yesterday that Çetin also requested a “judicial control” ruling for the suspects. Evren and Şahinkaya will need to visit a police station every day if the demand is approved.
Görüşen said probes into other members of the MGK, Land Forces Cmdr. Nurettin Ersin, Navy Cmdr. Nejat Tümer and Gendarmerie Cmdr. Sedat Celasun had been dropped since the suspects were dead.
He also said the indictment was 80 pages long.
“This indictment covers the suspects’ actions until Dec. 6, 1983,” Görüşen was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency. “According to the indictment, the suspects sent a warning letter Jan. 2, 1980. The indictment covers that letter and until a proper Parliament administration was established on Dec. 6, 1983.”
The indictment only deals with crimes against the state, while the investigation into torture conducted during the military coup era is continuing separately, a prosecutor with special authority said, adding that the statute of limitations would not apply to the case.
The 12th Court of Serious Crimes in Ankara now has 15 days to decide on whether to accept or reject the indictment.
During the 1980 coup period, 650,000 people were taken into custody and 230,000 were put on trial. Military prosecutors demanded capital punishment for 7,000 people; 517 of them received the death penalty and 50 were hanged. Military rulers revoked the citizenship of more than 14,000 Turks while another 30,000 left the country to seek refuge abroad.
Some 299 prison inmates also died of “undetermined” reasons while another 14 died in hunger strikes. Torture by security forces reportedly claimed another 171 lives.