Turkish military criticizes arrest of officers in coup trial


From DPA:  The Turkish military issued a statement Wednesday criticizing the arrest of more than 100 active duty officers in a controversial coup plot case , a day after an Istanbul court rejected a second appeal for them to be tried without arrest.

"The Turkish Armed Forces has difficulty in understanding the continuing arrest of 163 active duty and retired personnel," the statement, published on the General Staff’s website, said. …

Prosecutors allege the plot would have thrown the country into chaos, allowing the military to step in and remove the mildly Islamist ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) from power.

The military has denied the allegations, saying the scenarios were part of a hypothetical war game that took place at a military training seminar.

"The Turkish Armed Forces, which has especially avoided any actions that could be seen as interfering with the ongoing judicial process, has explained through repeated statements, in no uncertain terms, what the seminars were, how they were carried out, what they involved and who participated under what orders," Wednesday’s statement said. 

UPDATE from the AP:  This week, top prosecutors investigating the alleged plots by hardline secularists against the Islam-based government were replaced in what analysts saw as an effort to restore confidence in the judiciary’s handling of the cases. …

In the judiciary’s shakeup, lead prosecutor Zekeriya Oz, who had investigated the Ergenekon case from its inception several years, was transferred to the position of deputy chief prosecutor in Istanbul. Although a promotion, the new job effectively removes him from the coup plot investigations.

He was replaced Tuesday by Cihan Kansiz, a prosecutor who has led high-profile investigations, including that of the 2007 murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, and prosecutions of leftist militants accused of terrorism.

Oz’s deputy was also replaced.  (photo: Reuters)

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