Ex-army chief Başbuğ acquitted over 1960 coup remarks
A Turkish court has acquitted former army chief İlker Başbuğ who was accused of “provoking the public to hatred and animosity” for saying that the 1960 military intervention could have been avoided if then-Prime Minister Adnan Menderes had decided to hold early elections.
An Istanbul court has acquitted former army chief İllker Başbuğ over his comments on the 1960 military coup, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Feb. 14.
Prosecutors were accusing Başbuğ of “hinting at a coup” through his interview with daily Cumhuriyet on Jan. 4, 2021.
In his interview, Başbuğ had said that the military coup of 1960 could have been avoided if then-Prime Minister Adnan Menderes had decided to hold early elections.
“Because conducting a military coup against a government that decided to go for early elections would also have been an explicit coup against the nation's political will,” Başbuğ had said.
Prosecutors had alleged that Başbuğ's remarks had implications of a coup and charged him with “provoking the public to hatred and animosity.”
During the latest trial of the case, Başbuğ’s lawyer Hilal Demirelli said Başbuğ evaluated a historical period in his remarks and that there was no relation between that period and this period.
The court ruled that the elements of the crime charged on Başbuğ did not occur and decided to acquit Başbuğ.
After the hearing, Başbuğ stated that he did not want to talk about his acquittal and said, "My personal position is not important at all on a day when we are experiencing such great pain," referring to devastating earthquakes that shook country's southeastern region on Feb. 6.
On 27 May, 1960, the Turkish military overthrew the elected Democrat Party government, the first of a series of military interventions in politics.
Following a trial lasting 11 months, Menderes was sentenced to death and, following a suicide attempt, was hanged.