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Turkish President Erdogan pardons elderly generals imprisoned following 1997 'postmodern coup' | World News

Turkish President Erdogan pardons elderly generals imprisoned following 1997 'postmodern coup' |  World News

 


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday pardoned seven former senior army officers who were sentenced to life in prison for overthrowing an Islamic government in 1997. The former generals, who are in their 70s and 80s, were been pardoned due to health problems and old age, according to a decision published overnight in the country's Official Gazette.

A court sentenced the generals to life in prison in 2018 for their role in a campaign by Turkey's pro-secular military and forced the resignation of then-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan. Their convictions were upheld by an appeals court in 2021. The ouster was later called a postmodern coup in Turkey because unlike previous military takeovers in the country, no tanks or soldiers were used . Erbakans' government was replaced by a coalition appointed by the president.

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Among those pardoned and expected to be released from prison later Friday was Cetin Dogan, 83, who was chief of military operations at the time. Former general Cevik Bir, 85, who was deputy chief of staff, was released early along with other officers due to health problems. The main defendant, former chief of staff Ismail Hakki Karadayi, died in 2020, while the appeal process continued.

At the time of the The exterior of Erbakan, the military was concerned about its efforts to raise the profile of Islam in the predominantly Muslim but secular country. On February 28, 1997, the military-dominated National Security Council threatened action if Erbakan did not back down. He resigned four months later.

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The trial was one of several held across the country against military officers as Erdogan continued his efforts to hold generals accountable for their interference in government affairs.

The Turkish military, which has long viewed its role as protector of the country's secular traditions, staged three coups between 1960 and 1980. In July 2016, Turkey called off a coup attempt that the government blamed on supporters of a US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah. Gulen. The cleric denies any involvement.

The pardon comes a week after Erdogan met with the leader of the main opposition party, Ozgur Ozel, who raised the issue of the pardon. The pro-secular People's Republican Party won local elections in March.

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