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Turkish coup leader, former president, Evren dies at 97

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Kenan Evren, the general who led Turkey’s 1980 military coup that ended years of street-clashes between rival left- and right-wing militias and but also unleashed a wave of arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings died on Saturday. He was 97.

The ailing former general who later ruled as president for seven years, died at Ankara’s GATA military hospital, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported, hours after he was placed on a respirator due to multiple organ failure and his family and lawyers were called to his side.

Evren was hailed as a hero at the time of the coup for ending fighting that had left some 5,000 people dead and put the country on the brink of a civil war. But he soon became one of the country’s most controversial figures, remembered more for the torture of former militants and their supporters and for introducing a constitution that restricted freedoms and formalized the military’s role in politics.

Turkish political leaders are still scrambling to replace the constitution he helped institute.

Last year,

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