Ex-Turkish military chief, 1980 coup leader Evren dies at 98

ISTANBUL: Retired Gen. kenan evren, the leader of the 1980 military coup who was sentenced to life imprisonment last June, died on Saturday.

The 98-year-old former commander of the Turkish army, who had been receiving treatment at the Gulhane Military Academy of Medicine (GATA), had been recently attached to a breathing machine, news reports said on Saturday.

Evren, also the 7th president of Turkey, and Former Turkish Air Forces Gen. tahsin sahinkaya (89) were the two remaining members of the then-National Security Council (MGK) which ruled the country after a coup d’etat on Sep. 12, 1980. They were sentenced to life imprisonment on June 2014 on charges of forcing the dissolution of Parliament, abolishing the Constitution and destroying the democratic order by ousting then-Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel.

Sahinkaya, who was also sentenced to life imprisonment in the same trial by the 10th High Criminal Court in Ankara, is bedridden at GATA and suffering from an undiagnosed illnesses.

Turkey witnessed its bloodiest coup d’etat in 1980 when Evren and his cohorts overthrew a democratically elected government.

Sept. 12 is believed to be the bloodiest coup Turkey has seen. Hundreds died and thousands were tortured in military prisons, as well as prisons for civilians. Many had to flee the country and thousands were fired from academic or government offices. It has also had the longest-lasting effects of all of Turkey’s four coups, as the current Constitution and several government agencies, such as the Higher Education Board (YÖK) are remnants of the Sept. 12 period.

Fifty people were executed and half a million arrested, hundreds died in jail, and many more disappeared in three years of military rule after the coup, Turkey’s third in 20 years.

Evren earlier told a prosecutor that he does not regret staging the coup and that he would do the same again if he had the authority.

“I do not regret what I did. I would stage a coup again under the circumstances of those times if I had the authority,” Evren told an Ankara specially authorized prosecutor in 2011.