MASAK report reveals huge wealth of 1980 coup generals

September 18, 2012, Tuesday/ 17:10:00

The Finance Ministry's Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) has sent a report to an Ankara court in which it detailed the bank account activities of two leading generals of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, according to a report that appeared in the Turkish media on Tuesday.

MASAK stated in its 55-page report that its officials were able to examine the activities in the bank accounts of retired Gens. Kenan Evren and Tahsin Şahinkaya only since 2001. The board is currently examining their financial activities before 2001 and plans to send the details of bank activities that belong to the period between 1980 and 2001 in an additional report to the court in the weeks ahead.

MASAK sent the report to the Ankara 12th High Criminal Court, which is hearing a case into the Sept. 12 coup, last week. Evren and Şahinkaya are the prime suspects in the case. A prosecutor is seeking life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the two retired generals.

Earlier this year, the court asked MASAK to examine if the two coup leaders obtained financial gains after the 1980 coup. The board stated in its report that the two men have “extraordinary wealth.” “We were able to examine the bank account activities [of Evren and Şahinkaya] since 2001. We are continuing to examine the activities before that year. An additional report will be sent to the court when the examinations are complete,” the MASAK report stated.

According to the report, both Evren and Şahinkaya have accounts in nearly 20 banks each as well as shares in private companies. In one of the accounts, Evren has around TL 600,000. He also possesses three luxury cars, three summer residences and is a partner in two private companies.

The report also showed that Şahinkaya possesses huge personal wealth, too. The retired general has two luxury cars and five summer residences. He purchased all the properties in the winter of 2002. He also has several apartments in İstanbul, according to the report.

In Turkey, Şahinkaya is remembered for corruption allegations leveled at him over Turkey's US-made F-16 purchases in the early 1980s. He was accused of personally benefiting from the purchase of the jets. An edition of Time magazine in 1986 featured Şahinkaya on its cover, introducing him as one of the 50 richest generals in the world. The edition was, however, banned in Turkey. Şahinkaya's personal wealth, at the time, was estimated to be around $20 billion.

Neither Evren nor Şahinkaya have attended the hearings of the coup case they are part of, citing health reasons. The two men are at the Gülhane Military Academy of Medicine (GATA) receiving treatment. Şahinkaya has been treated at the hospital for Parkinson's disease since 2000, while Evren has been a patient at GATA since 2009. They are expected to testify before the court via a teleconferencing system.

The Sept. 12, 1980 military coup was the bloodiest and most carefully planned in the history of Turkey. A total of 650,000 people were detained during this period, and files for 1,683,000 people were kept at police stations. A total of 230,000 people were tried in 210,000 cases, mostly for political reasons. A further 517 people were sentenced to death, while 7,000 people faced charges that carried a death sentence. Of those who received the death penalty, 50 have been executed. As a result of unsanitary living conditions and torture in prisons, a further 299 people died while in custody.

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