The fifth hearing of the 1980 coup trial began at the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court on Friday. Kenan Evren (94), the chief of General Staff when he led the 1980 coup and president from 1982 to 1989, and Tahsin Şahinkaya (87), commander of the Turkish Air Forces (THK) during the coup period in 1980, sent medical reports to the court through their lawyers, claiming that the condition of their health will not allow them to attend the upcoming hearing. The court forwarded these reports to the ATK for further analysis, which announced its decision on Monday that Evren and Şahinkaya are indeed not healthy enough to attend the court hearings.
Prosecutor Kemal Çetin then demanded that Evren and Şahinkaya testify before the court via a teleconferencing system.
Both Evren and Şahinkaya are at the Gülhane Military Academy of Medicine (GATA) receiving treatment. Şahinkaya has been treated at the hospital for Parkinson's disease since 2000, while Evren has been a patient at GATA since 2009. The indictment, which came after a year-long investigation, was submitted to the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court in January and seeks life imprisonment for Evren and Şahinkaya.
The lawyers of several of the co-plaintiffs in the case voiced their objection to the ATK report. Lawyer Senih Özay claimed the report was meant to ensure that the coup suspects will not attend the hearings and asked the court to commission independent medical institutions to examine the health of both Evren and Şahinkaya.
Özay said the court should not take these reports, prepared by state institutions, as credible.
Another lawyer, Müşir Deliorman, also criticized the ATK report and accused the ATK of carefully assisting crime and criminals.
Lawyer Fikret Babaoğlu said it is impossible to accept the ATK report and called on the court to issue an arrest warrant for the suspects so they can be brought to the hearings.
The court announced its interim ruling on Friday, saying the medical condition of the coup suspects should be examined by the university hospitals nearest their current places of residence and, according to the report issued by these universities, the court will decide whether or not the suspects should attend court.
Additionally, the court has accepted several of the coup victims' families as co-plaintiffs in the case of the bloody coup d'état. These victims are Erdal Eren, Serdar Soyergin, Necati Vardar, Veysel Güney, Ramazan Yukarıgöz, Mustafa Özenç, Cengiz Baktemur, Ömer Yazgan and Halil Esendağ.
The Sept. 12, 1980 military coup was the bloodiest and most-carefully planned in the history of Turkey. A total of 650,000 people were detained during this period, and files for 1,683,000 people were kept at police stations. A total of 230,000 people were tried in 210,000 cases, mostly for political reasons. A further 517 people were sentenced to death, while 7,000 people faced charges that carried a death sentence. Of those who received the death penalty, 50 were executed. As a result of unsanitary living conditions and torture in prisons, a further 299 people died while in custody.