Turkish ex-military chief on trial for 'terrorism'

By REUTERS
March 26, 2012 11:31

 
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SILIVRI, Turkey - Turkey's former armed forces chief raised a clenched fist and waved to supporters when he faced terrorism charges on Monday in a historic trial that demonstrates the ebbing power of an army that once held power above political leaders in the country.

The court, sitting in the Silivri high security prison complex, underlined the fall of the military by denying General Ilker Basbug's opening appeal to have his case considered by the Supreme Court.

Basbug, chief of staff from 2008 to 2010, is accused of being a leader of a shadowy network dubbed "Ergenekon," behind a string of alleged plots against the government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. His lawyer, however, said at the weekend that the case targeted not only Basbug, but also "the Turkish armed forces and even, in political terms, the state."

The trial encroaches on sensitive territory in a country that saw three coups in the second half of the 20th century.

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