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Turkey indicts alleged plotters
A Turkish court accuses 196 people over an alleged plan to topple the government.
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2010 09:21 GMT
Saygun (second from left) and other defendants insist Sledehammer was just a normal war game [EPA]

A Turkish court has indicted 196 people, including four retired military commanders, over an alleged plot to topple the current government.

Monday's indictment accuses the suspects of planning to create choas to pave the way for a coup, in a suspected conspiracy called "Sledgehammer".

According to the indictment, the plan was drawn up at the Istanbul base of the First Army shortly after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK) came to power in November 2002.

The plot was to involve bombing historic mosques and provoking Greece into shooting down a Turkish war plane to create a war-like situation and destabilise the AK party, the media reports said.

Among those accused are Cetin Dogan, the former head of Turkey's First Army, and Ibrahim Firtina, a retired air force commander, both of whom were first arrested early this year.

'Overthrowing the government'

The indictment said the coup was created by Dogan on the grounds that "the Turkish state had begun to come under the influence of anti-secular and reactionary elements" after the election of the AKP, Anatolia said.

Ozden Ornek, a former navy chief admiral, Halil Ibrahim Firtina, a former air force commander general, and the former number two of the general staff, retired general Ergin Saygun, were also among those charged.

in depth
 

Timeline: Evolution of Turkey's 'deep state'

  Documentation: 'Sledgehammer plot'
  Documentation: 'Cage plot'
  Analysis: Trial exposes Turkey's secret operations 

The indictment accused all the defendants of "attempting to overthrow the government or prevent it from carrying out its duties through the use of force and violence", a crime punishable by up to 20 years in jail, Anatolia said.

"The evidence at hand shows that (the coup planners) ... prepared a very comprehensive and detailed plan to oust a democratically elected government through undemocratic means," the news agency quoted the indictment as saying.

No date has been set for a trial.

Turkey's military, the second largest in NATO, has overthrown three governments since 1960.

It has denied such a plot, saying the documents were from a military training seminar during which officers simulated an internal strife scenario.

More than 400 people, including pro-secular academics, journalists and politicians and soldiers, are already on trial over separate charges of plotting to bring down the government.

Source:
Agencies
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