Two Turkish Opposition Leaders Charged With Planning Communist Revolt
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ Two leftist leaders who were arrested after returning from exile were charged Monday with trying to lead a communist revolution in Turkey.
Nihat Sargin, secretary-general of the Turkish Labor Party, and Haydar Kutlu, secretary-general of the Turkish Communist Party, have been held since they returned to their country from West Germany in November.
An indictment issued Monday contended the two ″established a party with the aim of changing the constitutional order in Turkey and indulged in clandestine activities to serve their purposes.″
If convicted, the defendants face prison terms totaling 275 years each.
Kutlu and Sargin returned from exile shortly after their respective parties agreed to merge into a single Turkish Communist Party. Turkey’s constitution and criminal code forbid the establishment of a communist party.
Kutlu, 44, and Sargin, 62, also were charged with smuggling into the country illegal publications that contained articles allegedly insulting the president and the Turkish government.
Kutlu and Sargin have claimed that the indictments were based on statements they gave while being tortured.
Sargin wrote to Premier Turgut Ozal on Thursday, reiterating the torture allegations, newspapers reported Monday.
The indictment also accused 12 other Turks of being members of the Turkish Communist Party and demanded up to 12 years of imprisonment for each.