ANKARA (Todays Zaman)–A Turkish court on Wednesday arrested and put behind bars seven senior military officers for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. Two of those arrested were admirals on active duty.
The discovery of plans allegedly drafted by the military in 2003 designed to topple the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) led to the detention of about 50 active duty and retired members of the military on Monday. This was the highest profile crackdown ever carried out on the military.
An Istanbul court also ordered on Wednesday that six of the detainees be released. It was not, however, clear whether they were freed pending trial. Prosecutors were still questioning dozens of other high-ranking officers, including former commanders of the navy, air force and special forces.
The detainees were questioned over their suspected links to the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) and Kafes (Cage) coup plots. The subversive plots included blowing up mosques during Friday prayers, attacking museums with bombs and other explosives during a visit by young students and turning stadiums into open-air prisons capable of holding tens of thousands of people if they challenged the coup troops.
On Tuesday evening, Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug gathered military generals at an extraordinary meeting at the General Staff in the Turkish capital. Gen. Basbug had postponed his planned visit to Egypt after the detentions.
Tuesday’s meeting was attended by 15 generals on active duty. A statement posted on the General Staff Web site read that the meeting intended to evaluate the “serious situation” that had erupted as part of an investigation being conducted by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The General Staff was referring to the Ergenekon investigation, a probe into a clandestine terrorist organization accused of working to overthrow the government.
Dozens of suspected members of Ergenekon are currently in jail pending trial on charges of working to destroy the government and Parliament. Among them are members of the military, academia and the business world.