FACTBOX-Turkey's 1980 coup and its aftermath

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Tue, 20 Nov 2012 15:08 GMT
Author: Reuters
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Nov 20 (Reuters) - Former Turkish President Kenan Evren appeared via video link before an Ankara court on Tuesday in his trial for overthrowing the government in 1980.

Turkey experienced three coups between 1960 and 1980, and in 1997 the army pressured an Islamist-led government to resign.

Here is a look at the 1980 military coup:

* On Sept. 12, 1980, the senior command of the army led by Evren announced they were taking control of the country. The coup followed a resurgence of street fighting between leftists and nationalists. Leading politicians were arrested. Parliament, political parties and trade unions were dissolved.

* Many Turks, fed up with insecurity caused by rival gunmen in the late 1970s, welcomed the military takeover. A provisional constitution that gave almost unlimited power to military commanders was implemented.

* Over 500 people were sentenced to death after the coup, of whom at least 50 were later executed. Around 600,000 people were detained. Many were tortured and hundreds died in custody. Political life was halted for three years and many civil liberties were suspended.

* Evren has defended the coup as necessary to end years of violence between left- and right-wing factions in which some 5,000 people died. After the restoration of democracy, Turgut Ozal swept to victory in 1983 with a party cobbled together from liberal, nationalist and pro-Islamic forces.

* In 2010 Turkish prosecutors opened an investigation into the former general and president, as well as former navy commander Nejat Tumer and former air force chief Tahsin Sahinkaya over the 1980 coup. Days earlier Turks had voted to approve reforms that among other things, stripped Evren and other coup leaders of immunity. Last April a Turkish court rejected an appeal by prosecutors to arrest Evren, disappointing victims who hoped his detention would guarantee he appear in person to face the charges of overthrowing democracy.

(Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by Ron Askew)