, ANKARA, Jan 10 – The leader of the 1980 Turkish coup and a co-conspirator have been charged with crimes against the state after an Ankara court approved an indictment Tuesday, the Anatolia news agency reported.
Prosecutors have sought life imprisonment for ailing retired generals Kenan Evren, 94, and Tahsin Sahinkaya, 86, it reported.
Evren came to power after the coup and served as Turkey’s seventh president from 1982 to 1989.
Five army generals took power in 1980 but Evren and Sahinkaya are the only ones who are alive today.
An Ankara prosecutor said last week it had prepared the indictment whose approval is expected to bring Turkey closer to coming to grips with its coup-filled past.
Turkey has endured three military coups — in 1960, 1971 and 1980 — but the military’s political influence has waned since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took office in 2002.
A package of government-led amendments adopted in a 2010 referendum paved the way for the trial of those responsible for the military takeover.
Turkey’s 1982 junta-made constitution reserved an article that exempted the former generals from any trial.
In previous remarks, Evren said he never regretted the 1980 coup and preferred to commit suicide rather than go on trial.