Turkey indicts 196 people for attempted coup in 2003

July 20, 2010 07:26


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A court in Turkey indicted 196 people Monday for plotting to overthrow the Islamic-leaning government in 2003. The conspiracy, which allegedly included four retired army commanders, highlighted tension between Turkey's religious leadership and its secular opponents.

A 968-page indictment accuses the suspects of planning to create chaos and pave the way for a military takeover in an alleged conspiracy dubbed "Sledgehammer," the Anatolia news agency and other media reported.Some 30 enlisted and retired military officers were indicted, including Ret. Gen. Dogan Cetin, former commander of Turkey's first army, former naval force commander Ozden Ornek, former air force commander Ibrahim Firtina and former army commander Ergin Saygun, Anatolia said.

They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of attempting to bring down the government and membership in an illegal organization, according to the Dogan news agency. Most were detained in February — but subsequently released — after a newspaper, Taraf, published allegedly leaked copies of documents detailing their plans.

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