Turkey ' s former army chief and more than 100 other suspects have gone on trial over their involvement in toppling the country ' s first Islamic government in 1997.
General Ismail Hakki Karadayi, 81, and the other defendants, including military officials and civilians, stand accused of overthrowing the government by force through pressuring former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan to resign. Karadiya did not attend Monday's hearing at an Ankara court due to ill health. Prosecutors have called for life in prison for those convicted of the charges. Erbakan's government stepped down on February 28, 1997, following a parade of tanks outside Ankara and an ultimatum issued to Erbakan. The events of 1997 became known as the "post-modern coup" as no troops were involved and the government was overthrown without violence. The generals are accused of using pressure behind the scenes to oust Erbakan from power. The army brought down Erbakan's government without spilling a drop of blood and replaced it with a civilian cabinet. Gen Karadayi, however, denies that the army's actions were a coup and that he was not involved in Erbakan's ouster. But, his deputy at the time, General Cevik Bir, disagrees and has said during all the investigation that military officers were simply following Karadayi's orders. Bir was also being tried on Monday. Turkey's army has overthrown three administrations in 1960, 1971 and 1980.