196 indicted in alleged Turkish coup plot

Former Deputy Chief of Military Gen. Ergin Saygun, center, is surrounded by security as he arrives at a courthouse Feb. 25, 2010

From Suzan Fraser, the AP:  A court on Monday indicted 196 people, including four retired military commanders, of conspiring in 2003 to overthrow the Islamic-oriented government in an alleged plot that highlights tension between Turkey’s pious leadership and its secular opponents.

A 968-page indictment accuses the suspects of planning to create chaos and pave the way for a military takeover in an alleged conspiracy dubbed "Sledgehammer," the Anatolia news agency and other media reported.

Some 30 serving or retired military officers were indicted, including Ret. Gen. Dogan Cetin, former commander of Turkey’s first army, former naval force commander Ozden Ornek, former air force commander Ibrahim Firtina and former army commander Ergin Saygun, Anatolia said.

They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of attempting to bring down the government and membership in an illegal organization, according to the Dogan news agency. Most were detained in February — but subsequently released — after a newspaper, Taraf, published allegedly leaked copies of documents detailing their plans.

No trial date has been set.  (photo: AP)

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