The two men classified as “terrorists” who stood on the gallows in Ankara Prison, Turkey, on Wednesday, October 8th, 1980, were worlds apart in their views. Mustapha Pehlivanoglu was a right-wing extremist and Needat Adali was a Communist, and their coming-together on the scaffold was triggered by the September 1980 military coup which overthrew the democratically elected government.

The military, supported by the USA, made it clear that they were taking power to “protect” democracy in Turkey from the bitter feuding between the Communists, the right-wing nationalists and the Islamists. The military view was that there was a breakdown in law and order – and that meant a clean sweep through all the political activists.

Pehlivanoglu had shot and killed five Communists in a bar, and Adali had shot dead a number of nationalists in a caf?. It was finally the hangman who united them.