Judgement day in Turkey’s landmark 1980 coup trial

ANKARA: A Turkish judge is due to deliver his verdict Wednesday in the case of two elderly generals behind a 1980 military takeover, the bloodiest in Turkey’s coup-ridden history. 
Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment for ailing retired generals Kenan Evren, 96, who became president after the military takeover, and Tahsin Sahinkaya, 89, the former air force commander. The generals seized power on September 12, 1980 but were only brought to trial for their role in the coup in 2012, after the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party introduced constitutional changes. 
Evren and Sahinkaya, who are being treated at military hospitals in Ankara and Istanbul respectively, appeared via video screens for Wednesday’s hearing. The two, who are charged with ousting the civilian government and committing acts against the forces of the state, have been unable to attend any hearings because of their poor heath. 
In his first testimony in 2012, Evren had said he had no remorse over his actions and that he did “the right thing to do at that time”. Outside the Ankara court, a crowd of about 200 protesters called for the case’s two surviving defendants to be severely punished. Turkey’s once-powerful army, which considers itself the self-appointed guardian of the secular regime, has staged three coups since 1960, and forced out an Islamist government in 1997. 

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