Arrest warrant for 102 suspects in Turkey coup case: Report
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Friday, July 23, 2010, 23:54
  
Istanbul: A Turkish court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for 102 suspects, among them senior military figures, charged over an alleged 2003 coup plan, media reports said.

The court also set the first hearing in the high-profile case for December 16 in a prison complex near Istanbul, said judge Davut Bedir as he announced the warrant, Anatolia news agency reported.

Two senior serving admirals and three retired generals were among the suspects included on the warrant, according to a news channel.

A total of 196 defendants will stand trial over the alleged coup plan -- codenamed Operation Sledgehammer -- under a charge sheet approved by the judicial authorities Monday.

The plan was allegedly drawn up and discussed at the Istanbul base of the First Army in 2003, shortly after the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the offshoot of a banned Islamist movement, came to power amid fears it would undermine Turkey's secular system.

The warrant included admirals Mehmet Otuzbiroglu and Kadir Sagdic, commanders of the navy's northern and southern flanks respectively.

Also on the list were Cetin Dogan, the alleged mastermind of the coup plan who headed the First Army at the time, as well as the former chiefs of the navy and the air force, Ozden Ornek and Ibrahim Firtina, all now retired, it said.

The suspects are expected to be first invited to turn themselves in.

The probe into the coup plan -- the toughest action so far against the influential army -- followed the indictment since 2007 of dozens of other soldiers and civilians, among them journalists and academics, over a series of alleged plots to destabilise and topple the AKP.

The probes have sharply polarised Turkey and sparked political tensions.

Proponents back the judicial onslaught as a boost to democracy in a country where the army has long meddled in politics and unseated four governments since 1960.

Government opponents however argue that AKP cronies within the state are leading a campaign based on fabricated evidence to disable the staunchly secularist army and give the AKP a free hand in pursuing Islamist ambitions.

Some 40 serving and retired soldiers, including Dogan, were initially arrested after the coup probe began in February.

They were all subsequently released pending trial amid accusations that prosecutors had issued arrest rulings liberally and were effectively punishing suspects before the charges had been proven in court.

PTI


First Published: Friday, July 23, 2010, 23:54


comments powered by Disqus