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Monday, July 07, 2008

Turkey arrests two ex-generals for alleged coup plot
Devin Montgomery at 8:32 AM ET

[JURIST] Turkish police Sunday arrested [Turkish Daily News report] former generals Sener Eruygur and Hursit Tolon, accusing them of plotting to overthrow the country's current regime. The country's majority Islamic Justice Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish] has alleged that the generals belong to secular extremist group Ergenekon [Turkish Daily News backgrounder], which is suspected of involvement in bombings, political assassination plots, and the death of journalist Hrant Dink [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. Lawyers for the former army officials deny the charges, and critics say the investigation is designed to intimidate government opponents. The generals' arrests are the latest in an ongoing investigation into Ergenekon. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

In March, Turkish Workers' Party [party website, in Turkish] leader Dogu Perincek [personal website, in Turkish] was also arrested [JURIST report] for his alleged ties to the group. Critics allege that the AKP has improperly investigated secular groups as part of a drive to impose Islamist principles in violation of the country's secular constitution [text]. In March, Turkish Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya petitioned the country's Constitutional Court to disband the AKP [JURIST report] for allegedly working to undermine the nation's secular principles.

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