Istanbul: Turkish former air force general Tahsin Sahinkaya, the last surviving leader of the 1980 coup which led to military rule and left lasting scars on the country, died on Thursday. He was 90.
The putsch on September 12, 1980 was the bloodiest in Turkey’s coup-ridden history, overthrowing a civilian government and putting in place a military junta that ruled Turkey for three years.
Sahinkaya was the last remaining survivor among the coup leaders after the death in May aged 97 of Kenan Evren, the army general who led the junta and served as president from 1980-1989.
Sahinkaya died at a military hospital in Istanbul, the NTV and CNN-Turk channels reported.
With the powers of the military clipped under the rule of the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) which came to power in 2002, prosecutors launched an investigation against the coup leaders.
But only Evren and Sahinkaya were still alive when the case was judged in June 2014. Both were given life sentences but never went to prison because of their poor health.
The 1980 coup was justified by the military as bringing order to Turkey after a period of social and political chaos.
But it was the bloodiest in Turkey’s modern history, with 50 people executed, while dozens died from torture. Some 600,000 were arrested and many others went missing.