Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Life Sentence Sought for Retired Turkish Generals in 1980 Coup

ANKARA - A Turkish prosecutor has sought life imprisonment for two former army generals on coup charges, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported Jan. 3.
Kenan Evren, 94, former chief of General Staff, and Tahsin Sahinkaya, 86, former air force commander, are being held responsible for the 1980 military coup, according to the indictment of an Ankara prosecutor's office.
Evren came to power after the coup and served as Turkey's seventh president from 1982 to 1989.
Five army generals took over power in 1980, but Evren and Sahinkaya are the only ones who are alive today.
The court now has 15 days to decide whether to accept the indictment and order a trial.
Evren and Sahinkaya were interrogated by prosecutors in June. A package of government-led amendments adopted in a 2010 referendum paved the way for the trial of those responsible for the military takeover.
Turkey's 1982 junta-made constitution reserved an article that exempted the former generals from any trial.
Turkey has endured three military coups - in 1960, 1971 and 1980 - but the military's political influence has decreased since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power in 2002.
In previous remarks, Evren said he never regretted the 1980 coup and preferred to commit suicide rather than go on trial.

Cypriot Protesters Demand British Forces Leave

NICOSIA - Protesters demanding that British forces withdraw from Cyprus clashed with police at a military base, leaving around a dozen people hurt, police said Jan. 2.
Among the injured at the British military base of Akrotiri were demonstrators, police officers and a journalist. State television said at least three people were arrested.
Around 120 people had turned up at the Akrotiri compound near the southern coastal city of Limassol, and the protest got off to a peaceful start before quickly deteriorating.
Demonstrators threw stones, sticks and bottles at the base's police force outside the compound.
Shops and cars were also damaged in the skirmishes with the police, who are mostly Greek Cypriot.
A helicopter was dispatched and loud explosions could also be heard, although police on state television attributed them to firecrackers.
The protest was orchestrated by a new group calling themselves the National Anti-Colonial Platform, with their demands being the immediate withdrawal of British forces from the Mediterranean island.
The group's website vowed to return to a British base to continue their demonstrations.
Britain has retained two sovereign military bases on Cyprus - at Akrotiri in the southwest and Dhekelia in the southeast - since the island gained independence from British rule in 1960.
Last month, Britain confirmed it would retain both, with Defence Secretary Philip Hammond saying they "are in a region of geopolitical importance and high priority for the United Kingdom's long-term national security interests."
The bases, home to some 9,000 personnel and their families, are seen as strategically imperative and have been used by British forces in offenses against Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.