Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Former Turkish president Evren sentenced to life for staging 1980 coup | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55332968

A Palestinian boat flies the Turkish flag in Gaza Port on May 29, 2014 during the visit of Turkish ambassador in Palestine Mustafa Sarnic (unseen) to lay flowers at the memorial of martyrs from the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, that was part of a flotilla trying to break the Gaza blockade, who were killed when […]


Ankara, Reuters—General Kenan Evren, 96, who came to symbolize the “Pasha” officer class that dominated Turkish politics over decades, was sentenced to life in jail on Wednesday for leading a 1980 coup that resulted in widespread torture, arrests and deaths.

Evren, who also served as president after three years of military rule, never expressed regret for the coup which he always argued ended years of Left–Right street fighting that killed thousands.

“Should we feed them in prison for years instead of hanging them?” he asked in a speech in 1984, referring to those executed after the coup.

Fifty people were executed by the military thousands more were arrested and hundreds disappeared.

Too frail to attend court sessions, he was sentenced to life in prison along with former air force chief Tahsin Sahinkaya, 89.

Both were accused of setting the stage for an army intervention, then conducting the coup.

The case against Evren, who had lived for decades in retirement on the Aegean coast, was part of moves by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to break the domination of the armed forces in politics. The generals, known as “Pashas,” forced four governments from power between 1960 and 1997.

Hundreds of other officers have been jailed after investigations known as “Ergenekon” and “Sledgehammer.” The army has also been excluded from state bodies that had exerted influence on politics, especially after the 1980 coup.

Throughout the trial, Evren largely maintained a silence, watching proceedings by video link. Because of his age, he may not serve his sentence in prison.