Five years later, new trial begins on 1980 coup

Published 19.01.2019 00:00

Plaintiffs and lawyers filled a courtroom in the capital Ankara on Friday for a new trial on the 1980 coup. There are no defendants in the case that was brought before the 10th High Criminal Court in the capital after the Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling over a technicality.

Lawyers representing the presidency, the Parliament, a number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and a number of surviving victims of the coup attended the first hearing while family members of the deceased defendants were not present. Lawyers seek the seizure of assets inherited by descendants of the top military brass behind the bloody coup.

Azize Yıldız, who was the chief nurse at a hospital at the time of the coup was among the plaintiffs. "I was arrested because I was a headscarf-wearing woman and had ‘Islamic' books. I was detained for a long time. I ask for compensation," Yıldız told the court.

Another plaintiff wanted the court to look into allegations that 170 tons of gold were stolen from the Turkish Central Bank following the coup.

Mehmet Faruk Öztürk, the lawyer who represented the presidency, asked the court to seize assets "criminally obtained" by those involved in the coup and to remove the grave of coup leader Kenan Evren from the state cemetery. Chief of Staff Gen. Kenan Evren who declared himself president after seizing power on Sept. 12, 1980 and Tahsin Şahinkaya, the head of the Turkish Air Forces during the coup died in 2015 of old age, one year after both were convicted of crimes against the state and sentenced to life imprisonment. They were the first generals to be tried and convicted of leading a coup in Turkey, while the leaders of the 1960 coup dodged conviction as they passed away years before political changes paved the way for trials. Both men were stripped of their military titles but that was the only sentence they could be handed as they were confined to hospital beds and died during the trial.

The court rejected requests to seize the assets of the junta and adjourned the hearing till April 12.

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