Turkish court arrests top coup general in Feb. 28 case
Nine more suspects who testified to prosecutors on Sunday after being held in the probe of the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military intervention in politics, including retired Gen. Çevik Bir, were arrested early on Monday.
Bir and other eight suspects who were sent to jail are among the 31 suspects for whom detention warrants were issued on Thursday as part of the probe of the 1997 military intervention into politics, which eventually forced the government to resign in what is widely referred to as the “postmodern coup.”
The suspects were among 12 people who testified to prosecutors at the Ankara Specially Authorized Prosecutor's Office, which is overseeing the investigation, on Sunday and were referred to a court for arrest. The Ankara 11th High Criminal Court ruled to arrest nine of them, including Bir early on Monday. The nine suspects were sent to the Sincan Prison while the court imposed a travel ban on the three who were released.
With Monday’s arrests, the number of suspects arrested a part of the 1997 coup probe now stands at 18. Nine suspects who appeared before a judge after testifying to prosecutors were sent to jail pending trial early on Sunday morning, while seven others were released. Retired Rear Adm. Abdullah Kılıçarslan was among those sent to jail.
On Feb. 28, 1997, an unarmed military intervention that resulted in the fall of the coalition government led by Necmettin Erbakan of the now-defunct Welfare Party (RP) occurred under the leadership of Gen. Bir. In reference to the coup attempt, which was termed a “soft coup,” Gen. Bir has said on several occasions that they “made a balance check for democracy.”
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