Former generals jailed over 1997 ‘postmodern coup’
Fourteen retired generals were handed life sentences for their involvement in the forced resignation of the democratically elected government in early 1997, often called “postmodern coup,” while seven of them, including former 1st Army Commander Gen. Çetin Doğan and former deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Çevik Bir, were jailed on late Aug. 19.
Upon an arrest warrant by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor, retired generals Doğan and Bir were taken to a facility in İzmir while Cevat Temel Özkaynak, Erol Özkasnak, Fevzi Türkeri, and Yıldırım Türker were transferred to a facility in Ankara. The necessary legal procedures for Hakkı Kılınç were accomplished in Antalya. There was no information on whether the remaining seven defendants were also taken to prison.
“We are where the word ends. Everything is clear. So, of course, this will come to an end,” Doğan told reporters as he was taken to prison.
The arrest warrant against the defendants was issued after an appeal court dismissed the demands for halting the execution due to the ages of the retired generals. The youngest of the defendants is 73-year-old İdris Koralp while the oldest is Ahmet Çörelçi, who is 89.
In the meantime, the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s office dispatched the finalized convictions of the defendants to the Defense Ministry and the chief of General Staff with the demand of abolishing the defendants’ military ranks.
On Feb. 28, 1997, the military was involved in the collapse of late Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan’s administration amid concerns expressed by generals about the government’s alleged Islamist program.
Erbakan’s government was forced to step down following a National Security Council meeting. His Welfare Party was also outlawed later. A new civilian government then took over from Erbakan in a move that became known as Turkey’s “postmodern” coup.
A legal case was opened two decades after the incident, and Ankara fifth Heavy Panel Court found 21 retired generals guilty and sentenced them to life in prison.