World Bulletin / News Desk
Two former Turkish generals who staged the bloody Sept. 12, 1980 coup d'état began delivering their defense statements to an Ankara court on Wednesday from their hospital beds via videoconference, denying coup charges leveled against them.
The 10th hearing of the coup trial began early on Wednesday at the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court. Kenan Evren, 94, the former chief of General Staff who led the 1980 coup and Turkish president from 1982 to 1989, and Tahsin Şahinkaya, 87, the commander of the Turkish Air Force during the coup period, testified via videoconference as their age and health prevent them from attending the hearing.
Live video feeds showing the suspects were projected onto flat-screen monitors mounted in the courtroom using two-way conferencing technology.
“I am not a suspect as I was part of the constituent power,” a defiant Şahinkaya said during his defense. “The National Security Council is the constituent power. The acts of the constituent power cannot constitute a crime. The court is not authorized to try us,” he said, refusing to further respond to the court's questions. Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment for both Evren and Şahinkaya.
Also during Wednesday's hearing, the prosecutor rejected a request by co-plaintiff lawyers, who sought to prosecute the two coup leaders on allegations of torture as well.
Evren's lawyer, Bülent Hayri Acar, also said his client stands trial on coup charges and he can only be prosecuted based on the allegations stated in the indictment.
Meanwhile, when asked to comment on the coup trial, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he hopes the judiciary will soon conclude the case in the best way possible.
The Sept. 12, 1980 military coup was the bloodiest and most wide-reaching coup in the history of Turkey. A total of 650,000 people were detained and police kept files on 1,683,000 people. Some 230,000 people were tried in 210,000 cases, mostly for political reasons.
A further 517 people were sentenced to death, while 7,000 people faced charges that carried a possible death sentence. Of those who received the death penalty, 50 were executed and another 299 people died while in police custody as a result of unsanitary living conditions and torture.
Last Mod: 21 Kasım 2012, 15:03