-Former Turkish Army Chief faces life jail term over toppling government
ANKARA - At least sixty people face demands for life jail terms over their alleged role in toppling the government of Turkey’s former prime minister Necmettin Erbakan 20 years ago.
Turkey 's official Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday that among those facing life sentences are General Ismail Hakki Karadayi, 85, who was chief of general staff between 1994 and 1998, and his deputy at the time General Cevik Bir.
A total of 103 people, mostly retired generals, had been named in the trial's 1,300-page indictment. They are accused of "overthrowing by force, and participating in the overthrow" of a government.
The events of 1997 were dubbed the “post-modern coup” as the generals allegedly used pressure behind the scenes to force Erbakan from power.
In his final opinion on the case, the prosecutor said the army action constituted a real coup attempt and could not be defined as "post-modern," broadcaster NTV reported.
While aggravated life sentences were sought for 60 defendants, the prosecutor asked for the acquittal of 39 other defendants.
The four other defendants have died since the court case began in 2013. The complex trial has lasted several years.
The case carries significance for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was a member of Erbakan's Welfare Party at the time of the government's ouster.
Last year, Turkey also witnessed a coup attempt when a faction of the Turkish military declared that Erdogan’s government was no more in charge of the country. However, over the course of two days, the putsch was suppressed.
Turkey , which remains in a state of emergency since the coup, has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups suspected to have played a role in the failed coup.
A Turkish court on Thursday handed down life sentences to 15 soldiers for their alleged role in the coup attempt.
In the post-coup crackdown, Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, policemen, teachers, and civil servants and has arrested over 55,000 others.