Turkey arrests more officers over 1997 coup

April 19, 2012 16:46

ANKARA - Turkish police hauled in a top retired general along with several fellow officers for questioning on Thursday over their role in the overthrow of Turkey's first Islamist government in 1997.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), which itself has Islamist roots, has made curbing the military's political influence one of its main missions, and state prosecutors have pursued officers suspected of conspiring against current and former governments.

The arrests are the latest humiliation for generals who for decades had considered it their right to interfere in political affairs, and had toppled four governments between 1960 and 1997.

Among those arrested was Major-General Erol Ozkasnak, who as Secretary General for the Chief of Staff had been third in command at general staff headquarters, when the military forced prime minister Necmettin Erbakan to quit.

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