Turkey's 1980 coup lives on its legal system
The trial of former general represents a historic opportunity for Turkey to face its past, but there are reasons to be cautious
Last week in Ankara, the trial began of former generals Kenan Evren and Tahsin Şahinkaya for their involvement in the 1980 Turkish coup. The coup traumatised Turkish society. An estimated 650,000 people were arrested, the vast majority of whom were tortured and tried before military courts; about 300 died under arrest. The protection of fundamental rights was reduced to a minuscule level with the 1982 constitution that has stayed in force ever since. The underlying ideology of the coup crushed leftwing parties to the degree that Turkish politics still lacks a central party with a genuine leftwing agenda.
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