Turkey: over 40 commanders held over coup plot

February 22, 2010 17:57

ANKARA, Turkey — In a crackdown that would once have been unthinkable, Turkish police detained more than 40 high-ranking military commanders Monday for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Islamic-rooted government.

The sweep highlighted the ongoing struggle between the secular establishment and the Islamic-oriented government — and left many wondering if the military no longer called the shots in a nation accustomed to viewing it as the pillar of the secular state.

The jailing of several senior military officers — including members of the elite class known as "Pashas," a title of respect harking back to Ottoman times — proved, at the very least, that such officials are no longer untouchable.

"We could not even dream about things that we see happening now," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told CNN-Turk television Monday. "Things will get better when those who were never accountable for their deeds begin to account for them."

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