Turkey: New trial begins for coup-plotting army officers

December 16, 2010 11:23

ANKARA, Turkey — About 200 active and retired Turkish military officers, including former chiefs of the air force as well as dozens of generals and admirals, went on trial Thursday on charges of plotting to overthrow the Islamic-rooted government in 2003.

The trial is being held behind closed doors at a special court house in the town of Silivri, near Istanbul, and marks the government's increasing confidence in confronting a military that once held sway over Turkish political life. All 196 suspects, who are free pending trial, face between 15 and 20 years in prison if convicted on charges of "attempting to topple the government by force," according to the indictment, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.The allegations include plans to blow up at least two major mosques during Friday prayers; assassinate some Christian and Jewish leaders; and shoot down a Turkish warplane and blame it on Greece, the country's historic rival.

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