Imprisoned retired soldiers involved in 'post-modern coup' pardoned

A presidential decree has abolished the remaining prison sentences of seven retired soldiers serving life imprisonment for their involvement in the Feb. 28, 1997 "post-modern coup."

The decree on May 17 pardoned Fevzi Türkeri, Yıldırım Türker, Aydan Erol, Cevat Temel Özkaynak, Erol Özkasnak, Çetin Doğan and Çevik Bir from their prison terms.

The decision was made on the grounds of the convicts being deemed "permanently ill" and "elderly" by reports from the forensic medicine institution.

The move follows the release of Bir, Erol, Çetin Saner and Hakkı Kılınç due to health problems.

In response to the decree, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel said while the pardon was "delayed, it was the correct step to take."

The 1997 "post-modern coup" case, which began in September 2013, involved 103 defendants accused of "attempting to overthrow the government" by force. In April 2018, an Ankara court sentenced 21 defendants to life imprisonment, while 68 were acquitted.

The case was dropped for 10 defendants due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, and four defendants passed away during the legal process.

The primary defendant, then Chief of General Staff İsmail Hakkı Karadayı, died in May 2020 during the appeal process. In July 2021, the Court of Appeals upheld the life imprisonment sentences of 14 defendants.

Additionally, the ranks of the convicted retired generals were stripped by a decision of the General Staff.

The sentences of former General İlhan Kılıç and former Major General Kenan Deniz were also lifted in January 2023 on health grounds.

The incident saw months of turmoil as the military undertook a campaign against the coalition government led by late...

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