Former Coup Leader Questioned in Turkey

Posted June 6th, 2011 at 2:25 pm (UTC-5)
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A former Turkish president who came to power in a military coup has been questioned by officials deciding whether to indict him.

Prosecutors on Monday questioned 93-year-old Kenan Evren at his home in Ankara as part of a preliminary inquiry into the coup. The former army chief led the coup in 1980 and then served as president until 1989.

Calls for Mr. Evren to stand trial began after constitutional amendments passed last year lifted immunity for the coup leaders.

Officials also plan to question former air force chief Tahsin Sahinkaya, the only other living member of Mr. Evren's military junta.

The coup leaders were initially hailed as heroes but subsequently resorted to torture, disappearances and restricting freedom.

It is unclear if the former leaders will ever stand trial because legal experts say the statute of limitation may have expired.

The 1980 coup was the third and latest in Turkey's history, although authorities are currently investigating what they say was a military plot to overthrow the government.

Authorities have detained more than 300 people as part of a wide-reaching investigation into Ergenekon, a secularist network the government alleges was planning bombings and other attacks to discredit the government and trigger a military coup.