Prominent figures were once again absent on Monday from the 81st hearing of a trial into the 1997 military coup, which has 103 defendants accused of toppling the government.
Commonly known as Feb. 28 coup or the postmodern coup as it did not involve the military's armed takeover of the government, the coup was the last episode in the Republic of Turkey's history of military takeovers. Former Prime Ministers Tansu Çiller and Mesut Yılmaz, who were summoned to the hearing to testify as eyewitnesses, did not attend the trial held in the capital Ankara. Both cited health reasons for their absence. Çiller had shied away from previous hearings, citing health reasons, while Yılmaz testified for the first time. Çiller was deputy prime minister in a coalition government headed by late Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan during the coup process and Mesut Yılmaz succeeded her in office.