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Two hanged in Turkey's first executions in 8 years

ANKARA, Turkey -- Two convicted terrorists were hanged before dawn Wednesday in the first executions in Turkey since 1972, prompted by the military junta's determination to contain political violence.

The two, Necdet Adali, 24, a leftist, and Mustafa Pahlivanoglu, 22, a rightist, were hanged one after the other from a gallows set up in the courtyard of Ankara's maximum security prison.

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Less than two hours earlier, they were taken to the prison from Ankara's military jail under a heavily armed escort consisting of two armored cars, three personnel carriers and nine other vehicles carrying security forces.

The hangings followed the National Security Council's rejection of the condemned men's appeals for clemency Tuesday.

The executions were the first in Turkey since 1972 and underlined the junta's determination to contain anarchy in the country and deal firmly with terrorism, which claimed 1,700 lives this year before the Sept. 12 coup ousted the civilian government.

Another 22 condemned men are awaiting the National Security Council verdict on their appeals for clemency.

Since parliament was disssolved in the coup, the council has functioned as the chief legislative and executive authority in the country.

Military authorities cordoned off all roads between the two prisons during the transfer of the two condemned men, although Ankara was under a midnight-to-dawn curfew.

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Prior to their executions, the men were offered services of a Moslem priest.

Adali, who was convicted of killing of two people, declined the offer. He dangled from the gallows for 18 minutes before a police doctor pronounced him dead.

Witnesses said the prison hangman, apparently fearing leftist reprisals, seemed nervous and reluctant as he carried out the sentence on Adali.

Rightist Mustafa Pahlivanoglu talked with the Moslem priest in his cell for 10 minutes, took the Koran from the priest's hand, kissed it three times according to Turkish custom and then left with his guards.

The bodies were removed later to Karsiyaka cemetery near Ankara for burial. Security was tight at the entrance.

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