Former Turkish army chief in custody

ISTANBUL – On Thursday morning the former chief of general staff Ismail Hakki Karadayi was taken into custody in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul. He is suspected of involvement in the so-called ‘post-modern coup’ of February 1997, in which the army forced the government to step down.

Karadayi was chief of general staff between 1994 and 1998. During his term, in 1996, Turkey got an Islamist head of government for the first time in its history, namely Necmettin Erbakan. The army, at the time still strong in its role as the ultimate defender of the Turkish form of secularism, feared too much religious influence in politics, and forced Erbakan to go. Because the army showed its power without tanks, the event went into history as the ‘post-modern coup’.

Last year several other high ranking former officers were arrested in connection with the same case. Among them was the second in command after Karadayi, Cevik Bir. He is still in jail. Karadayi is being transported from Istanbul to Ankara now, where he will be interrogated.

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