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Accountability of the Political Actors for the Crimes Committed during and after the 1980 Coup d’État

The government of Prime minister Bülend Ulusu, with all members of the cabinet who accepted to carry out the tasks delegated to them by those who plotted the military coup, participated in the crimes, and did not intervene the commitment of crimes against humanity,

  • The members of the Advisory Council in the 1980 period, and
  • The Regional State of Emergency Governors

are included in the list of individuals with political responsibility of the crimes during the coup as explained in detail below.



  1. Bülend Ulusu

Prime Minister


  1. Zeyyat Baykara

Minister of State and Deputy Prime Minister


  1. Turgut Özal

Minister of State and Deputy Prime Minister


  1. İlhan Öztrak

Minister of State


  1. Nimet Özdaş

Minister of State


  1. Cevdet Menteş

Minister of Justice


  1. Ü. Haluk Bayülgen

Minister of National Defense


  1. Selahattin Çetiner

Minister of Internal Affairs


  1. İlter Türkmen

Minister of Foreign Affairs


  1. Kaya Erdem

Minister of Finance


  1. Hasan Sağlam

Minister of National Education


  1. Tahsin Önalp

Minister of Public Works


  1. Kemal Cantürk

Minister of Commerce


  1. Necmi Ayanoğlu

Minister of Health and Welfare


  1. Recai Baturalp

Minister of Customs and Monopolies


  1. Necmi Özgür

Minister of Transportation


  1. Sabahattin Özbek

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry


  1. Turhan Esener

Minister of Labor


  1. Şahap Kocatopçu

Minister of Industry and Technology


  1. Serbülent Bingöl

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources


  1. İlhan Evliyaoğlu

Minister of Tourism


  1. Şerif Tüten

Minister of Public Works and Housing


  1. Münir Raif Güney

Minister of Village Affairs and Cooperatives


  1. Vecdi Gönül

Minister of Youth and Sports


  1. Sadık Şide

Minister of Social Security


  1. Cihat Baban

Minister of Culture


The period from September 12, 1980 to December 6, 1983.


  1. Hayri Kozakçıoğlu
  2. Necati Çetinkaya
  3. Ünal Erkan
  4. Necati Bilican
  5. Aydın Arslan
  6. Gökhan Aydıner

Reasons Why the Advisory Council is Responsible

National Security Council (NSC) and the military staff were not the only ones who committed the crime of plotting a military coup and the crimes against humanity. It is known that in the process of Advisory Council elections, in accordance with the legal regulations made by the NSC, all candidates had applied to Governor Offices and the NSC through petitions on their own accords with free will, without any coercion. The members of the Advisory Council have, through such a will of participation, worked as members of a Constituent Assembly together with the members of the NSC, in accordance with the Decree No. 2839, although they did not have any such authority, and have thus participated in the appropriation of people’s will through a coup. Following the 1980 Coup d’État, they adopted the practices of the military governance without any objections to the military intervention, extrajudicial practices, tortures and other crimes against humanity. Therefore, the Members of the Advisory Council who were delegated by the National Security Council to form a government and accepted the task, and who have not intervened at the practices of torture although they should have had information about what had been taking place also carry the political responsibility of the crimes against humanity committed throughout the period.

All individuals who accepted any unusual political, administrative or judicial tasks during the September 12 and Martial Law Governance period, all such professors, provincial or district governors and judges also bear the political responsibility of the crimes against humanity, at least as much as the security and law enforcement officers.

Reasons Why the Martial Law Governors are Responsible

When the 1980 Coup d’État took place, the martial law had already been in place in nineteen provinces. On September 12, martial law was declared on the remaining forty-eight provinces as well. While it was gradually lifted in the provinces in Western Turkey from March 14, 1984 to July 19, 1987, it remained in place in Bingöl, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Hakkari, Mardin, Siirt, Tunceli and Van. The number of provinces governed by martial law rose to thirteen as other provinces such as Batman, Şırnak, Bitlis and Muş were added to the list. Here, the martial law governance continued from July 19, 1987 to November 30, 2002 when it was finally lifted; the martial law governance period in the region was extended for a total of forty-six times, and the residents of some provinces were made to live under martial law conditions for twenty-three solid years.

In the period of the 1980 Coup, with the intention to silence political opponents and destroy their human dignity, violence was exercised in enormous levels. Forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions were common during the period, but it would not be wrong to say that the main type of violation that bore its firm mark on the era was torture. Hundreds of thousands of people were subject to systematic and widespread torture while they were held under custody and/or in prison, and it was this systematic and widespread character that placed the crimes of this period within the category of crimes against humanity.

On the other hand, in the period of the martial law, in the climate of fear that was created, the state extended its repertoire of violence in an even more unlimited manner. From the beginning of the 1990s, from civilians to intellectuals, human rights defenders to political leaders, the Kurds were subject to a tremendous amount of violence. During this period, in addition to the tortures carried out in prisons and places of custody, the main types of grave violation of human rights were forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and the forceful emptying of villages, which meant the forced displacement of millions of Kurdish citizens, and their deprivation from means of subsistence.

The 1980 Coup thus continued well into the 1990’s with its changing context and changing security / ‘counter-terrorism’ concept. For this reason, the regional governors of martial law were included in the list of individuals politically responsible of the atrocities of the period, together with the military and political authorities of the time.