Hospitalization of 84-year-old jailed general leads to calls for presidential pardon

Retired General Çetin Doğan

The hospitalization of an 84-year-old retired general who is in prison for his role in the issuance of a military memorandum against the government in 1997 has led to calls asking President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to use his presidential power to pardon him due to his advanced age and health issues, Turkish Minute reported.

Retired general Çetin Doğan’s lawyer, Hüseyin Ersöz, announced on X on Monday that Doğan, who is incarcerated in the western province of İzmir, was hospitalized over the weekend due to high blood pressure. Following medical tests, he underwent surgery on Monday morning and had his gall bladder removed. Doğan is still in the hospital and recovering from the operation, the lawyer said.

Ersöz said although the country’s Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) issued a medical report showing Doğan’s health problems were caused by advanced age, Erdoğan has been keeping his dossier waiting since April 2023 and not using his presidential power to pardon him.

Presidents have the authority to pardon convicts due to advanced age or health problems, according to 104th article of the Turkish Constitution.

Turkish journalist Ergun Babahan, who currently lives in exile, wrote on X that human rights are for everyone and that all ailing, advanced-age inmates including Doğan should be freed.

“Since you are selectively objecting to violations or remain silent about them, you suffer,” said Babahan, referring to the Turkish people.

When Doğan took his case to the Constitutional Court, the court ruled in February 2023 that he had suffered no rights violations during his trial.

Doğan was sent to prison in the summer of 2021 after the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the life sentences handed down to 14 defendants including him who were convicted and sentenced in 2018 for their roles in the post-modern coup of February 28, 1997 following the issuance of a military memorandum.

The defendants were accused of “forming a criminal association to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey.”

In March 2023, Erdoğan pardoned three former generals who were imprisoned in 2022 due to their role in the February 28 military intervention. Doğan was not among those who were pardoned for reasons of health despite calls from his family for his release due to his deteriorating health in prison.

One of the convicted former generals, Vural Avar, 85, died in his sleep in December 2022. Avar was being held in Ankara’s Sincan Prison despite health problems.

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