21 sentenced to life over Turkey's 1997 'post-modern coup'

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's state-run news agency says a court has sentenced 21 people — including former top military officers — to life in prison over their involvement in the ouster of an Islamic-oriented government back in 1997.

Anadolu Agency said the court in Ankara acquitted 68 other people who were accused of taking part in the campaign that forced the resignation of then-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan. The campaign was dubbed Turkey's "post-modern coup."

Those convicted Friday include Gen. Ismail Hakki Karadayi, who was chief of military staff between 1994 and 1998, as well as his deputy, Gen. Cevik Bir. All 21 would remain free pending the outcome of an appeals process.

Ravza Kavakci Kan, a deputy chairwoman of the ruling party, welcomed the verdict as an important day for democracy.

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