Acquittal demanded for 1980’s coup architects

Acquittal demanded for 1980’s coup architects

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Acquittal demanded for 1980’s coup architects

Kenan Evren, 94, was the Chief of Staff and the leader of the five-man junta that seized power in 1980 in Turkey. DHA photo

The lawyers representing former Turkish President Kenan Evren and Ret. Gen. Tahsin Şahinkaya, the architects of Turkey’s Sept. 12, 1980 coup d’etat, requested yesterday that the case against their clients be dropped due to lack of jurisdiction.

“It is one thing to regard revolutions as unethical and another thing to attempt to judge them. This is called restoration. This doctrine amounts to the trial of one revolutionary by another,” lawyer Bülent Acar said in the plea.

Evren has been at the Gülhane Military Academy of Medicine (GATA) for 20 days, recuperating from an operation on his digestive system.

The lawyers argued that the court held no jurisdiction to try the two suspects, as the court itself and Turkey’s current constitutional order derived their legitimacy from the system and constitution established by the suspects in the 1980 coup.

“According to this line of reasoning, the constitutions of 1961 and 1982, the order established by them and all legislative, executive and judicial acts that derived their authority from these constitutions are also null and void,” the lawyers said.

The defense lawyers’ plea came only two weeks prior to the start of the trial, which is set to begin Apr. 4. The lawyers consequently requested the defendant suspects’ acquittal, according to CNNTürk. “The penal codes of civilized countries feature no clauses that punish the act of being a founding power. This is a Turkish invention. No one can try another over a clause that does not exist in the law,” the plea said. The defense lawyers also referred to the referendum where the 1982 constitution was ratified, arguing that the laws defined any attempt to overturn the constitutional order as a crime, but not the actual act itself.