President Erdoğan pardons 'postmodern coup' generals over health issues, old age

Turkish President Erdoğan has pardoned seven generals convicted for their role in the “postmodern coup” of 1997 which ousted the Islamist Welfare (Refah) Party from power, citing their health issues and old ages.

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on May 17 pardoned seven generals convicted for the 1997 "postmodern coup". His decision was announced via the Official Gazette.

The list included retired generals Çevik Bir, Çetin Doğan, Fevzi Türkeri, retired lieutenant general Yıldırım Türker, retired vice admiral Aydan Erol, and retired major generals Erol Özkasnak, Cevat Temel Özkaynak.

Erdoğan pardoned the generals citing health problems and old age. The opposition politicians have been expressing their health problems for some time, including Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel, demanding their release.

Erdoğan also pardoned Haci Sülük, Ali Efteraslan, Avni Yılmaz, Sevda Yüksel, Gülbey Sarıoğlu, Süleyman Tuna and Abdulhekim Yılmaz, who were convicted of various crimes, on the same grounds.

Commenting on the move, CHP leader Özel said “The decision to lift the sentences of convicted generals with advanced illnesses is a long overdue but correct step.”

During his meeting with President Erdoğan on May 2, Özel mentioned the health problems of the generals to Erdoğan. 

The “postmodern coup”

Now dubbed the “postmodern coup,” the military leadership issued a memorandum against the government of Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan on Feb. 28, 1997.

Erbakan was handed a list of 18 demands by the military, almost all of which pertained directly to issues involving religion. Under intense pressure, Erbakan signed his acceptance of 18 directives and resigned on June 30, 1997, a year after having taken the oath of office.

On Jan. 16, 1998, Erbakan's Welfare Party (“Refah Partisi”) was closed by the Constitutional Court on the grounds of violating the principle of secularism.

In a landmark decision, a Turkish court sentenced 21 people to aggravated life imprisonment over the 1997 events in 2018, including retired Gen. Çevik Bir.