Conflict & Justice

Turkish generals arrested in 1997 coup probe


Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is flanked by military commanders in Ankara on Aug. 1, 2011.



LONDON, UK – A Turkish court has arrested eleven generals in connection with a widening probe into a military coup that toppled the country’s first Islamist-led coalition government in 1997.

According to Bloomberg, at least 43 serving and retired members of the military have already been taken into custody and many placed under surveillance as part of an investigation into the coup, which began with a meeting of Turkey’s National Security Council on February 28, 1997, and ended four months later with the resignation of Necmettin Erbakan’s government, without the use of force.

The latest detentions – which took place on Wednesday – implicate six serving and five retired generals, including General Berkay Turgut, the Third Army’s chief of staff. According to the Agence France Presse, the officers have been accused of “trying to topple the government, or partially or totally impeding its activities.”

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On Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was himself jailed for four months in 1998 for threatening the secular order while serving as mayor of Istanbul, said he was “seriously uneasy” about the continuing wave of police arrests as they “disturb the social peace,” the BBC reports.

“When these waves come one after the other, the country is drowned in those waves,” he said.

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