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Turkish court charges 7 officers in coup plot

[ 2010-02-25 11:44]     字号 [] [] []  
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A Turkish court yesterday formally charged and ordered seven jailed senior Turkish military officers for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Islamist-leaning government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party.

Prosecutors were questioning several other high-ranking officers, including former chiefs of the Navy, Air Force and Special Forces.

About 50 commanders were detained on Monday in the highest profile crackdown ever on the military after wiretap evidence and the discovery of alleged military plans drafted in 2003 to overthrow the government. The Turkish military has ousted four governments since 1960.

The crackdown dramatically escalated tensions between Turkey's military-backed secular establishment and Erdogan, whose government has strong electoral backing and the European Union's support.

It also signaled a major political shift in Turkey, NATO's sole Muslim member and a US ally. The country's stability is crucial for Washington and the EU, which want Turkey to develop into a mature democracy.

The court in Istanbul ordered that four admirals, an army general and two staff colonels be jailed yesterday. It released six other officers, but it was not clear whether they were freed pending trial.

Opposition parties accused the government of engaging in a "political showdown." "Why did you wait for seven years?" Deniz Baykal, head of the main opposition Republican People's Party asked, noting that many of the commanders were retired.

Baykal, however, signaled he would support the prosecution of military leaders who actually toppled governments in the past, an apparent reference to Gen. Kenan Evren, the leader of the 1980 coup.

The current Constitution, a legacy of the 1980 coup, prevents the prosecution of then-coup leaders and members of the military-appointed government.

The alleged secret military plans - dubbed "the sledgehammer" - included the idea of blowing up some mosques during Friday prayers and turning stadiums into open-air prisons capable of holding tens of thousands of people if they challenged the troops.


1. What country was the coup supposedly about to take place in?

2. How many were charged?

3. What was the secret military plan dubbed?


1. Turkey.

2. seven.

3. The Sledgehammer.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Turkish court charges 7 officers in coup plot

About the broadcaster:

Turkish court charges 7 officers in coup plot

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.