KABUL: (Middle East Press) Turkish former president Kenan Evren, convicted last year for his key role in the country’s bloody 1980 coup, died Saturday in the capital Ankara at aged 97, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Evren, who had been receiving treatment at a military hospital in Ankara, suffered multiple organ failure as a result of old age and was pronounced dead late on Saturday, Anadolu said, without citing its sources.

His lawyers and family were summoned to the hospital.

The former president was sentenced to life in prison last June along with former air force commander Tahsin Sahinkaya, 90, for their roles in the putsch 35 years ago.

He was too frail to attend court sessions, and age and sickness spared him from serving time behind bars.

Fifty people were executed and half a million arrested, hundreds died in jail, and many more disappeared in the years after the coup. Political parties were shut down and Evren went on to serve for seven years as president from 1982.

Evren never expressed regret for the coup. He said it saved NATO member Turkey from anarchy after thousands were killed in street fighting by militant left-wingers and rightists.

As head of the armed forces, Evren seized power in a pre-dawn assault on September 12, 1980, and went on to rule for the next nine years.


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