Türkiye’s Erdogan Pardons Elderly Generals Imprisoned over 1997 'Postmodern Coup'

FILED - 18 December 2023, Hungary, Budapest: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks during a press conference in Budapest. Photo: Marton Monus/dpa
FILED - 18 December 2023, Hungary, Budapest: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks during a press conference in Budapest. Photo: Marton Monus/dpa
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Türkiye’s Erdogan Pardons Elderly Generals Imprisoned over 1997 'Postmodern Coup'

FILED - 18 December 2023, Hungary, Budapest: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks during a press conference in Budapest. Photo: Marton Monus/dpa
FILED - 18 December 2023, Hungary, Budapest: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks during a press conference in Budapest. Photo: Marton Monus/dpa

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday pardoned seven former top military officers who were sentenced to life terms in prison over the ouster of an Islamic-led government in 1997.
The former generals, who are in their late 70s and 80s, were pardoned due to health issues and old age, according to a decision published in the country’s Official Gazette overnight.
A court sentenced the generals to life in prison in 2018 for their role in a campaign that was led by Türkiye’s pro-secular military and forced the resignation of the prime minister of the time, Necmettin Erbakan. Their sentences were confirmed by a court of appeals in 2021, The Associated Press said.
The ouster was later dubbed Türkiye’s “postmodern coup” because unlike previous military takeovers in the country, no tanks or soldiers were used. Erbakan’s government was replaced by a coalition that was nominated by the president.
Those released from prison Friday following the decision included Cetin Dogan, 83, who was head of military operations at the time. Former Gen. Cevik Bir, 85, who was deputy chief of military staff, was released along with other officers earlier due to ill-health. The main defendant, former Chief of General Staff İsmail Hakkı Karadayı, died in 2020, while the appeals process was still continuing.
On Feb. 28, 1997, the military-dominated National Security Council threatened action if Erbakan did not back down. He resigned four months later.
The trial was one of several held in the country against military officers as Erdogan pressed ahead with efforts to make generals account for intervening in government affairs.
Türkiye’s military, which had long regarded its role as protector of the country’s secular traditions, staged three coups between 1960 and 1980. In July 2016, Türkiye quashed a coup attempt that the government has blamed on supporters of a US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The cleric denies involvement.
The pardon comes a week after Erdogan met with main opposition party leader Ozgur Ozel, who raised the issue of clemency. Ozel’s pro-secular Republican People’s Party swept local elections in March.



Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
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Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)

Iran's supreme court has overturned Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi's death sentence on charges linked to the country's 2022-23 period of unrest, his lawyer wrote in a post on the X social media platform on Saturday.

"The death sentence of #Toomaj_Salehi was overturned and based on the appeal decision ...of the Supreme Court, the case will be referred to (another) branch for consideration," attorney Amir Raisian wrote on X.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the ruling.

Salehi's songs supported protests sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for allegedly wearing an "improper" hijab.