The documents, which were kept in a red suitcase, now disclose the true and accursed face of this first coup and shed light for the first time on the general’s sufferings under the perpetrators of the military takeover. When the May 27 coup was staged, Erdelhun was the chief of General Staff. He was initially forced to resign and consequently stripped of his rank, a first in the history of Turkey. He was later arrested by coup leaders on grounds of supporting the overthrown Democrat Party (DP) against the military, becoming the first chief of General Staff to be arrested and jailed in Turkey. Erdelhun stood trial at Yassıada, a small island in the Sea of Marmara, as a private and was sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment, and he was subsequently pardoned by the then-head of state Cemal Gürsel after serving approximately one year in prison.
Many have told stories about the deplorable circumstances of the Yassıada trial and the humiliation that Erdelhun and his friends were subjected to, yet their actual experiences will come under the spotlight with this outstanding exhibition, which will remain on display until July 10.